Author Topic: Case of Houston man arrested for harassing police sparks First Amendment concerns  (Read 158 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Houston Chronicle by  Keri Blakinger Feb. 11, 2019

When his car turned up missing, Charlie Jones called the police. Then he called them again, and again and again.

In each call, he demanded authorities investigate the alleged theft. But police suspected his car had simply been towed, and told him they couldn’t do anything.

So Jones kept ringing, dozens of times. One day later, the Houston Police Department filed charges against the 55-year-old for telephonic harassment. Now, Jones’ attorney is fighting back by arguing that law is an unconstitutional damper on free speech.

“He’s been charged for asking the cops to do their jobs,” said defense attorney Mark Bennett.

Police saw it differently, saying they tried to work with Jones, letting him speak to multiple supervisors even though repeated calls ate up time that could have been used to respond to other cases.

More: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Case-of-Houston-man-arrested-for-harassing-police-13608351.php
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Offline Sanguine

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It wasn’t until that day that an investigator finally figured out what had happened to the vehicle, according to Bennett. It was not, in fact, stolen — but simply towed by a company that failed to report the tow like they’re supposed to.

I don't see how this is a First Amendment issue.  He called it in, they took the call, and then he continued to call.  Sounds like harassment to me.
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Offline Elderberry

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I don't see how this is a First Amendment issue.  He called it in, they took the call, and then he continued to call.  Sounds like harassment to me.

It wasn't like he was already arrested and was only allowed "One phone call". He was trying to get his car back. I made 5 phone calls yesterday trying to get a replacement recycle bin that was stolen back in October and never replaced. Should I have been arrested for harrasment as well?
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Offline thackney

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It wasn't like he was already arrested and was only allowed "One phone call". He was trying to get his car back. I made 5 phone calls yesterday trying to get a replacement recycle bin that was stolen back in October and never replaced. Should I have been arrested for harrasment as well?

Did you call the same person 5 times hoping for a different answer?

Probably not.
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Offline Elderberry

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Did you call the same person 5 times hoping for a different answer?

Probably not.

All 5 calls were to the city. Different people answered each time. I bet he talked to different people as well, expecting results, just like I did.
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