Former outspoken Linn Co. Sheriff candidate speaks about ACLU le - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former outspoken Linn Co. Sheriff candidate speaks about ACLU letter to Marion

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Rick Stewart, the man most well known for his unique campaign ad attacking "war drug criminals", is speaking after the ACLU filed a letter of demand with the City of Marion, alleging his First Amendment rights were infringed upon.

Stewart says he was picketing with two other people for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson when Marion Police asked him to stop, citing a city ordinance that would've required him to have a permit.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a demand letter with city, saying "The First Amendment protects the rights of picketers on public sidewalks without a permit, so long as picketing is done in a non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and any entrances to buildings are not blocked. In Mr. Stewart's case, there were only three picketers present, and they were not interfering with anyone else's use of the pedestrian areas. Actually, they even offered to move to a different sidewalk if the officer preferred, but the officer instead reiterated that unless they had a permit, they could not picket. That violated their free speech rights."

Stewart says he's just trying to do what he believes is right.

"I'm really just trying to stand up for the First Amendment.  The country is founded on the First Amendment, it's one of the things that got us our independence in the first place.  There's not reason to allow the current government, or any current government to erode those fundamental rights that we have as citizens of this great nation," he said.

"I'm not interested in vengeance or rubbing someone's face in the results, I'm just interested in preserving the Constitution. It means we'll be able to do what we are legally allowed to do."

Stewart says he hasn't heard from city leadership since the letter was filed.

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