By P. A. Triot
When do police showing "admirable restraint" actually engage in assault and battery?
Answer: when the police follow unlawful orders to break up a peaceful assembly of people who are trying to get redress of grievances from the government.
The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution guarantees "the right of the people peaceably to assemble." This refers to natural people, not artificial corporate people, which don't even qualify for citizenship.
The U. S. Constitution is the highest law of the land and trumps all other laws of governments----federal, state and local.
All elected officials who are sworn into office pledge "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." However, too few of those office holders ever fulfill that pledge.
Taking the oath of office for a public official means recognizing that the U. S. Constitution is the highest law there is.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said Thursday, Oct. 13, "No one respects the First Amendment more than we do, but we need to enforce the law," or words to that effect. He was speaking on behalf of himself and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, as they were eager to shut down the "Occupy Denver" assembly and from staying in Lincoln Park near the state capitol.
What Hickenlooper obviously meant was that the First Amendment is simply some nice-sounding words but state regulations regarding closing hours of the park cannot be ignored.
The governor and mayor's perception is that the Constitution is little more than garnish decorating the laws and regulations of the state.
No, governor! There are three levels of law: Constitutional law, statutory law and regulatory law. Constitutional law is supreme.
In school, that's civics 101.
The governor unlawfully ordered the Colorado State Patrol to break up the demonstration in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 14, by moving people out of the park.
The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled on any number of occasions that the only reason the First Amendment might be set aside is when there is imminent danger to life or public safety that would result in the event the assembly of "Occupiers" continued.
Hickenlooper's feeble reasoning to show cause for his order was a question, in effect, "Who would be liable if a fire broke out?" That's not the level of clear and present danger needed to truncate freedom of expression demanded by the Supreme Court.
Hickenlooper should have gone before a federal judge and obtained a court order to stop the assembly. To do that he would have had to produce evidence that a imminent danger was present.