May police put a stop to pro-life activity simply because someone complains?
Peaceful, legal exercise of the freedom of speech is not dependent on the attitude or response of those who see or hear the message. Police may receive complaints from the public during a pro-life demonstration, but it is the duty of the police to protect the pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights and to explain these rights to those who are complaining.
There are, however, situations in which the police may be appropriately exercising their duty to protect the safety of the public by restricting to some extent the location of a demonstration or the way in which it is organized. When such “time, place and manner” restrictions are imposed, it must be clear that law enforcement’s duty to ensure public safety overrides the First Amendment rights of the demonstrators. Since this is a judgement call on the part of a police officer, it will necessarily be subjective.
Brejcha, Thomas, Esq., and Terry Hodges. Law and Order. Pro-Life Action League. Recorded 2006. CD.