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In the last few weeks, residents and business owners all over downtown Seattle have been sending in complaints about drivers who honk their horns in

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Seattle Police Ticketing Drivers Who Honk in Support of Occupy Seattle Protestors

horn-honking01.jpg
In the last few weeks, residents and business owners all over downtown Seattle have been sending in complaints about drivers who honk their horns in support of the Occupy Seattle protests outside Westlake Center.

Wait, I'm being told that's not the case.

Regardless, Seattle police officers have begun ticketing drivers who they hear honking near the protests after 10 p.m.

KOMO reports:

Starting at 11 p.m. Friday, police started pulling over and ticketing drivers who honked as they drove past protesters.

When the first car - a taxicab - was pulled over, the protesters followed and shouted at police who then formed a blockade around the driver's cab.

The cab driver was then given a $144 ticket - and protesters ended up handing him money afterwards to help pay for his fine.

"I'm really sorry this happened to you tonight, man," one protester said to the cab driver.

There are, obviously, free-speech implications involved in forbidding people from showing support for political rallies via honking. But the rules of the road can complicate those matters, as honking is not usually allowed in general except for auto-safety reasons.

A Washington state court did recently hear a case involving horn-honking and whether it's protected free speech under the First Amendment.

In State of Washington v. Helen Immelt, Immelt had been ticketed for repeatedly showing up early in the morning at a neighbor's house whom she didn't like and laying on the horn like a complete asshole.

That assholery was not protected free speech, ruled one Washington court, which told Immelt to pay her fines.

Another similar case was recently ruled on in Wisconsin, where an resident upset with Gov. Scott Walker's union-rights-stripping law drove by his house and combined honking with bird flipping.

That honking too was deemed not protected.

In the Occupy Seattle case, protestors are apparently encouraging those ticketed to fight the citations in court. Whether such a case would turn out any differently than the aforementioned two remains to be seen.

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