Archive for Monday, February 19, 2018

Lawrence City Commission to address concerns raised by ‘Defend the Flag’ protest; city attorney to explain First Amendment

Protesters carrying American flags and a hybrid Confederate flag, along with counter-protesters carrying rainbow flags, stand near the north entrance to South Park, south of the Douglas County Courthouse, Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3, 2018.

Protesters carrying American flags and a hybrid Confederate flag, along with counter-protesters carrying rainbow flags, stand near the north entrance to South Park, south of the Douglas County Courthouse, Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3, 2018.

February 19, 2018


After some residents raised concerns, the Lawrence City Commission will discuss a protest in downtown Lawrence that brought Confederate flags to the city’s main thoroughfare.

Earlier this month, the commission heard about 30 minutes of public comment regarding a "Defend the Flag" protest that occurred Feb. 3 in downtown Lawrence. Several residents asked the city to make a statement about the protest and clarify the city’s protest protocol.

At the City Commission’s meeting Tuesday, the commission will make a statement regarding the protest, the city attorney will provide a review of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, and the police chief will recap the events of Feb. 3, according to a city memo. The Journal-World has reached out to commissioners to get more information about the statement but has not yet heard back.

Lawrence police previously reported that one arrest was made and one citation issued in what they described as a "largely non-violent" protest. The protest was reportedly in response to a "Drag the Flag" protest that had allegedly been scheduled for the same day but that did not occur. During the protest, people on foot and in vehicles traveled up and down Massachusetts Street displaying flags, including some Confederate flags.

Several of the residents who spoke to the commission earlier this month described feeling scared, unwelcome or threatened by the protesters. Some also referred to a video circulating on social media that showed some of the protesters yelling at a resident with an anarchist flag and one protester breaking the flag’s pole.

Porter Arneill, the city’s director of communications and creative resources, previously told the Journal-World that marches held on public property generally do not require any official city oversight or permits, but monitoring by police may occur if deemed necessary.

In other business, the commission will:

• Consider making changes to the city’s Lifeline program, which provides a 65 percent utility discount to low-income residents age 60 and older. City staff is proposing that discount rate be decreased to also provide discounts to low-income residents who are disabled or a U.S. Veteran, regardless of age. As proposed, the total amount discounted would not change. The low-income discount for those 60 and older would change to 35 percent, and the difference would be used to provide low-income veterans and disabled people with a $5 monthly discount.

• Consider adopting a charter ordinance, on second and final reading, that explicitly authorizes the city to use alternate construction methods for city projects. Specifically, the ordinance allows the city to use methods that deviate from the traditional sealed-bid procedure for future construction projects if the commission votes to do so.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

Contact city reporter Rochelle Valverde
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Bob Smith 3 months ago

"largely non-violent" means that there was some violence. There is no right in the Constitution to never feel offended.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

So I can stand outside your house and yell obscenities and burn rubber?

Bob Smith 3 months ago

That would be polluting the air, Dorothy. That's a bad thing.

Michael Kort 3 months ago

Yes,.....and the mentally slow who are looking for a fearless leader to lead them can be enraged at a phony created " pseudo response event " made by their leaders imaginations ? ? following the bigoted,.... who speak for bigotry ?...........sounds like a plan that will Make America Something (?) Again ? !

Well,......Whatever it is, ......i guess that we just can't live without it ? !

Jennifer Harrison 3 months ago

Dorothy complains because a group of people yelled obscenities and squealed their tires but I sure didn’t see her complain when activists marched into our downtown businesses demanding they support their cause or be threatened with repercussions. Or further when they take over a City Commission and School Board meeting while throwing out F bombs right and left...hypocrite.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

Oh really? You didn't see my posts on here then. I said it was wrong of them to condemn businesses doing something they didn't even know about, because most of those businesses would support civil rights if asked to. But then how would you know. You don't even know me. Just what Justin tells you.

And is Jennifer your trans name? Do you think these flag people would be nice to a Jennifer who is also a Thomas? They had a lot of derogatory names for trans and gays on that day.

Paul Silkiner 3 months ago

Lead, follow or get out of the way! Cowards..............

Bill Pasquel 3 months ago

"Our Flag Shall Never Be Taken". Thank God for our President, Donald J. Trump. You don't like him? Too bad. He is your, and all American Citizens', President of the United States of America. Donald Trump. God Bless America. At ease, Snowflakes, or melt away.

Beverly Stauffer 3 months ago

Are you a real person or a Russian bot? You seem like the latter.

Richard Aronoff 3 months ago

Remember when a political candidate called half the country deplorable? I'll tell you what's really deplorable. The notion that the city attorney has to explain the first amendment to the citizens of Lawrence ---- THAT'S deplorable.

Kendall Simmons 3 months ago

Uh...if the First Amendment were so black-and-white, how come there have been so many Supreme Court rulings on it explaining what is...and is not...covered??? Even Supreme Court changes in previous rulings?

Matt Daigh 3 months ago

I hope the city's review also includes the two-person protest that occurred prior to the aforementioned Confederate flag protest, whereby a self-identified Native American walked the sidewalks of Downtown Lawrence dragging an American flag, and a female companion walking alongside, videoing the event. If the Confederate flag event is bothersome to some and deserving of special attention from the commission, then clearly the dragging and trampling of the American flag should demand equal concern from the citizenry and the commission.

Michael Kort 3 months ago

So......where is the video or still picture of this so called American Indian and his female accomplice dragging a US flag in Lawrence ? ? ?

I guess that if you can't find that flag dragging Lawrence video, you can always come up with one from another city than Lawrence, with actors pretending to be.employees from Hillaries Pizza Parlor .

If you make an accusation then show us the proof and tell the paper of the location of your photo, etc., so the LJW can confirm that the picture comes from that place in Lawrence .

What really worries me is those little green men and women who keep parking their UFOs infront of the fire hydrants on Mass. ST. near the drinking venues down there .

Steve Hicks 3 months ago

This has been thoroughly hashed-over previously.

The question that remains is why a demonstration to "defend the Flag" (presumabvly the American flag) would include even a single Confederate flag ? No symbol could be more "ANTI" the American flag.

Take it as name-calling who will: but people that clueless (even if they hadn't been duped by someone...maybe Russians ? counter a non-existent "Drag the Flag" demonstration) wouldn't "get" that a Nazi flag was an inappropriate way to show one's Israeli nationalism.

Steve Hicks 2 months, 4 weeks ago

On facebook, the sewer of disinformation (including Russian Intelligence disinformation), there's a video that's being offered as proof of a "Drag the Flag" demonstration in Lawrence. Some reality-challenged ideologues believe this justifies the counter "Defend the Flag" violent demonstration.

The individual shown "dragging the flag" strolls down sidewalks for the length of the video. He seems entirely peaceable, though evidently delusional (and/or ideologically grandstanding ?...hard to tell from the video).

Take it as fact there was a "Drag the Flag" demonstration on the streets of Lawrence...if your definition of "demonstration" is one guy walking silently (as much as we can tell) down the street.

If that is your definition of "demonstration," maybe next time you can come up with a video of two guys silently walking together down the street, and post it to prove there was a riot.

Or if you can't come up with one, make one yourself and post it on facebook. That is, after all, the premier conduit of disinformation.

Andrew Applegarth 2 months, 4 weeks ago

And now you're even moving the goal posts for other posters...

"Take it as fact there was a "Drag the Flag" demonstration on the streets of Lawrence..." That fact has already been established with the video that was posted, despite the desperate desires of people like yourself and Michael Kort to wish it away. However, it did not directly cause the counter-protest, so whether or not it alone justified such a counter-protest is irrelevant. What is relevant is that this 'walk' was the inspiration for the fake "Drag the Flag" event that was spread through social media. It was 'news' of this fake event which directly led to the counter-protest (without a protest) that also did actually happen in Lawrence Kansas.

I know I'm wasting my electrons typing to somebody who won't even believe video proof, but I'll just mention that I first heard about this from a post on a scanner page because somebody who saw it was concerned enough to call the police. It's probably not a direct quote of dispatch, but it is the essence of what was passed to the officer seen in the video:

January 28 at 3:23pm: Subjects walking down Mass carrying a flag. Appears something is smoking.

(The time is when it was posted, which was probably very soon after it came across the scanner. I didn't hear it or post it, so I don't know how long of a delay there was.)

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