“pursuant to a statue that any reasonable police officer would have known is unconstitutional”
This case is a perfect example of why an organization like FIRE is needed. Read the back story here.
Campus Reform reports:
Charges against UConn students arrested for ‘ridiculing’ language ‘must be dropped,’ legal org says
A student free speech legal advocacy organization has come to the support of two University of Connecticut students who were arrested Monday for using a racial slur.
As previously reported by Campus Reform, the students were tracked down by the university police and charged under a Connecticut state statute that prohibits “ridiculing” language. Free speech experts say both the investigation and the charge are unconstitutional.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education penned a letter to the University of Connecticut on Wednesday, advising the school to “disclaim the possibility of further punishment” against the students who were arrested Monday for using a racial slur. FIRE accuses the institution of having already made a “stunning departure from its constitutional obligations” in assisting with bringing charges against the students, which FIRE says “must be dropped.”
The students were arrested after another student filmed them saying the word in what was allegedly a dare scenario. The filming student then contacted university police who used a combination of security footage, card swipe data, and WiFi connection data to track down the students.
“FIRE is deeply concerned by the investigation and arrest of two students by the University of Connecticut Police Department pursuant to a statue that any reasonable police officer would have known is unconstitutional,” FIRE wrote. “However offensive the use of a racial epithet, not directed at any person, the First Amendment protects offensive language, and neither the University of Connecticut nor its police officers may abridge students’ First Amendment rights.”
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