Skip to comments.Committee votes to ask group to cancel rally
Posted on 05/22/2007 7:56:46 AM PDT by SmithL
The balance between "repugnant" speech and First Amendment rights divided a Knox County Commission committee Monday.
Commissioners split 6-2, with one abstention, on a resolution asking the ABC Group to cancel its proposed June 16 rally, which will protest black-on-white crime in the wake of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
Five black suspects have been charged in connection with the death of the young white couple.
"We have had a carjacking, kidnapping and horrendous double murder," Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert said at Monday's Intergovernmental Committee meeting, and he said racially charged protests don't need to be added to the mix.
The full commission votes on the resolution May 29.
"While recognizing the First Amendment rights of all, the Knox County Commission strongly needs to request" that the rally not be held, Lambert said. "This community has seen a hate crime the likes of which we've never seen. I don't want these racist hate mongers to come here."
The anti-rally resolution was requested by Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, and most commissioners agreed the county's legislative body needed to take a public position.
Commission Chairman Scott Moore and Commissioner Josh Jordan, who is black, voted no, however.
Moore cited "constitutional issues," namely the First Amendment right to free speech.
"What are we going to do if we don't like what people are doing at County Commission?" Moore asked. "Are we going to pass something saying people can't come and ask questions?
"The story is two young people lost their lives in a terrible, horrendous crime. I don't care if they're black, white or green, these (alleged killers) are not from here, and they came in and abused citizens of this county. (But) when you talk about these groups, that only gives them media attention," Moore said. Three of the five suspects are from outside the area.
Jordan also cited constitutional reasons.
'I don't see any need to cancel it," Jordan said. "It is freedom of speech. It's unfortunate they are coming to town. It's not going to affect minorities. It's not going to dictate who we are. Knoxville is a strong place, and we can overcome words."
Cate abstained because he "thought all we were doing was giving those people attention."
Ragsdale said he proposed the resolution at the request of Saadia Williams, executive director of the Race Relations Institute.
"I don't think there's a place in Knox County for groups that promote racial hatred," Ragsdale added. "I think we're obligated to tell them we don't want them and, if they come, to ignore them."
The permit application for the ABC Group was filed by Ken Gregg, who in the past has been affiliated with the White Patriot Party. His rally paperwork indicated the event would be held June 16 in front of the old Knox County Courthouse.
According to information posted on Stormfront.org, which calls itself the Web site of the white nationalist community, the rally is part of a three-day event, with other events occurring on private property.
Commission's resolution initially just requested that the group cancel its rally in Knoxville, but it was amended by Commissioner Mark Harmon to recognize First Amendment free-speech rights.
"I have taught mass media law," said Harmon, associate professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee. "I've looked into this issue. All we're saying is we find the speech of this group repugnant, and we request that they take their message of hate and bigotry elsewhere."
Added Commissioner Tony Norman, "This body can make a statement that this body is repulsed without preventing them from being here."
Voting for the resolution urging that the rally not take place were commissioners Lambert, Harmon, Norman, Tim Greene, Craig Leuthold and Phil Ballard.
Supporting repugnant causes is their specialty.
What? I thought that was Americas most popular spectator sport? I guess it all depends on which race is doing the "charging".
The ACLU was conspicuously absent from Durham when the New Black Panther Party came to town...
"Five black suspects have been charged in connection with the death of the young white couple."
Whatever happened to the concept of hate crime?
If you target a specific group just because of their race (in this case white), isn’t that a hate crime?
Aren’t we supposed to get all apopletic and go into epilectic seizures at the mere thought of the existence of the possibility of hate crime?
Shouldn’t hate crime hysteria apply here?
The press has gone into the details plenty of times here in Knoxville. Personally, I’m sick of hearing about what they did - I know what they did, and the families know what they did. What I want now is justice - and that’s going to wait a year before the trial starts.
Channon’s mom and dad gave their first interviews in the last day or so. Dad said that he didn’t feel it was a hate crime. His daughter and her boyfriend were “in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they ran into Satan.”
Justice will be a long time coming. These animals will go through trial, be sentenced to death, and will be on death row for years. There’s plenty of folks around here right now that would be happy to save the state the time and trouble of appeal after appeal after appeal, and just put them down like the animals that they are.
The mods will kill this thread in 3...2...1...
Instead of the issue being the heinous crime it’s going to be about the klan. Do you want the victims and this crime associated with that?
Jeez. It’s like all sanity has left this forum and only the kooks are left.
I guess you feel that way when Rev. Al goes on a march against white evildoers, like the Duke LaCross team?
Don’t change the subject. Are your good with STORMFRONT hijacking this case and making it an issue about their racist ideology?
So, when the Klan with a Tan does it, its A-Ok.
When the Klan with no Tan does it, its racist and intolerable?
I don’t get the double standard.
On O’Reilly Now, about the case.
I guess you’re good with STORMFRONT.
Bout as good as you are with Sharpie Sharpton and Louie Farrakkan.