Freedom of Speech in Spokane — ACLU and CFJPosted by Arroyoribera on August 29, 2010Settlement Protects Freedom of Speech at Spokane Transit Plaza
March 25, 2004
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Justice (CFJ) have reached an agreement with the Spokane Transit Authority to protect freedom of speech at the Plaza in downtown Spokane. The agreement settles a lawsuit challenging restrictions on free speech at Plaza sidewalks that the groups filed on behalf of Donald Ausderau, a Christian minister, and the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane in June 2003.
“Public sidewalks have traditionally served as public forums for free speech. People who wish to exercise their rights will now be able to do so without having to get the government’s permission beforehand,” said ACLU staff attorney Aaron Caplan.
“The Plaza sidewalks are a central gathering point for the Spokane community. We are pleased that the Spokane Transit Authority has revised its policies to ensure an open forum for dialogue by citizens and community groups. We appreciate the Authority’s willingness to reach a constructive agreement that recognizes the importance of free speech while honoring the Authority’s mission to serve public transportation needs,” said CFJ attorney David Blair-Loy.
The settlement allows speakers, leafleters, musicians, and other people who ordinarily use city sidewalks without a permit to use Plaza sidewalks without a permit, too. Their activities will not be limited to any particular time period. Previously, the Transit Authority required anyone who wanted to engage in a “public communication activity” on the sidewalk outside the Plaza building to get a permit in advance, and the permit was good for a maximum of five hours a week. The settlement narrows the policy’s application to persons or groups who set up a table, chairs, or similar apparatus. Under the settlement, the Authority may require speakers to stay 10 feet away from bus exits and from passengers standing in line for a bus or waiting on a bench, unless the speaker is invited to come closer.
Donald Ausderau is a Spokane resident and minister who wishes to speak to the public about religious and social issues on the public sidewalk outside the Plaza. The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane is a nonprofit membership organization devoted to involving individuals and local communities in building the foundations for a just and nonviolent world. The group seeks to hand out leaflets and gather signatures about political and social issues on the sidewalk outside the Plaza.
Washington •"It shall be unlawful for a candidate for office or for nomination thereto whose name appears upon the ballot at any election to give to or purchase for another person, not a member of his or her family, any liquor in or upon any premises licensed by the state for the sale of any such liquor by the drink during the hours that the polls are open on the day of such election." • A law to reduce crime states: "It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police as he is entering the town." • All lollipops are banned. • All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (daytime) or a red lantern (nighttime) fifty feet in front of said vehicle. • An old Washington law sent duelists to jail for ten years, assuming they didn't lose the duel. • A proposed Washington law protects sports referees from civil suit unless their actions were "willful, wanton, reckless, malicious or grossly negligent." • Auburn: Men who deflower virgins, regardless of age or marital status, may face up to five years in jail. • A Washington state law offers the presumption that youngsters will read comic books. • Bremerton: You may not shuck peanuts on the street. • Everett: It is illegal to display a hypnotized or allegedly hypnotized person in a store window. If the honey you are eating in Seattle is a blend of honey from or more types of flowers, it's illegal for the honey to be labeled as having come from one type of flower. • In Electric City, WA, it is illegal to "keep[ ] or permit[ ] to remain, in any location . . . anything whatsoever in which flies or rats may breed or multiply." • In Olympia, Wash., minors are prohibited from frequenting pool halls. • In Seattle, Washington, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length. • In Spokane, Wash., it used to be illegal to interrupt a religious meeting by having a horse race. • In the state of Washington, there is a law against having sex with a virgin under any circumstances. • In the state of Washington it's illegal to catch a fish by throwing a rock at it. • In Washington state it's illegal for a candidate to buy anyone a drink on Election Day. • In Washington state it's illegal to sleep in an outhouse without the owner's permission. • In Washington state it's illegal to sell to minors comics that might incite them to violence or depraved or immoral acts. • In Washington it's illegal to pretend you're the child of a rich person and entitled to his estate. • In Washington, anyone under the age of 18 must have parental permission to throw a tear gas canister. • In Washington state, until quite recently, you could have been fined up to $500 for removing or defacing the label on a pillow. • It is illegal to deflower a virgin even on their wedding day. • It is illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag. • It is illegal to pretend that one's parents are rich. • It's illegal in Wilbur, Washington, to ride an ugly horse. • Lynden: Dancing and drinking may not occur at the same establishment. • People may not buy a mattress on Sunday. • Seattle: You may not carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length. Women who sit on men's laps on buses or trains without placing a pillow between them face an automatic six-month jail term. No one may set fire to another person's property without prior permission. It is illegal to carry a fishbowl or aquarium onto a bus • because the sound of the water sloshing may disturb other passengers. • Spokane: TV's may not be bought on Sundays. • The state of Washington doesn't allow marathon dancing--or marathon skipping, sliding, gliding, rolling or crawling. • There is/was a law on the books in Washington state that stated that a motorcar driven at night must be preceded by something like 100 yards by a man carrying a lantern. • Under the law of the state of Washington, any restroom with pay toilets has to have an equal number of free toilets. This law came to pass after the speaker of the state House of Representatives raced to an all-pay facility without a dime. • Waldron Island: No structure shall contain more than two toilets that use potable water for flushing. • Washington state doesn't allow fake wrestling. • When two trains come to a crossing, neither shall go until the other has passed. • Wilbur: You may not ride an ugly horse. • You are not allowed to breast feed in public. • You need a license to sell condoms in Washington state
Washington •"It shall be unlawful for a candidate for office or for nomination thereto whose name appears upon the ballot at any election to give to or purchase for another person, not a member of his or her family, any liquor in or upon any premises licensed by the state for the sale of any such liquor by the drink during the hours that the polls are open on the day of such election." • A law to reduce crime states: "It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police as he is entering the town." • All lollipops are banned. • All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (daytime) or a red lantern (nighttime) fifty feet in front of said vehicle. • Auburn: Men who deflower virgins, regardless of age or marital status, may face up to five years in jail. • Bremerton: You may not shuck peanuts on the street. • Everett: It is illegal to display a hypnotized or allegedly hypnotized person in a store window. • In Seattle, Washington, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length. • In the state of Washington, there is a law against having sex with a virgin under any circumstances. • It is illegal to deflower a virgin even on their wedding day. • It is illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag. • It is illegal to pretend that one's parents are rich. • It's illegal in Wilbur, Washington, to ride an ugly horse. • Lynden: Dancing and drinking may not occur at the same establishment. • People may not buy a mattress on Sunday. • Seattle: You may not carry a concealed weapon that is over six feet in length. Women who sit on men's laps on buses or trains without placing a pillow between them face an automatic six-month jail term. No one may set fire to another person's property without prior permission. It is illegal to carry a fishbowl or aquarium onto a bus • because the sound of the water sloshing may disturb other passengers. • Spokane: TV's may not be bought on Sundays. • Waldron Island: No structure shall contain more than two toilets that use potable water for flushing. • When two trains come to a crossing, neither shall go until the other has passed. • Wilbur: You may not ride an ugly horse. • You are not allowed to breast feed in public.
Why Victims of Sexual Abuse Often Don't Come Forward
SPOKANE, Wash. - Sexual abuse and sexual assault can be uncomfortable topics, but talking to your kids about it could help protect them and end up saving someone who is in an abusive situation.
Lutheran Community Services deals with thousands of cases of sexual assault and abuse every year, but there are still thousands more that never get reported.
“Sometimes people tell and nothing happens,” said Erin Williams the Director of Advocacy and Prevention at Lutheran Community Services. “Sometimes we need to trust survivors to know that if they're not telling, it's for a reason.”
Williams says there are many reasons people do not come forward. In cases where the abuse is happening at home between a child and a family member, it is usually the hardest for kids to speak up.
“First of all, often they love the person that's abusing them,” Williams said. “Outside of that, they may be a loving parent, they might be the only kind of parent they know.”
She says the abuser will even tell the child lies to keep them quiet.
“Nobody will believe you or you'll be homeless, you’ll go into foster care, you know, I'm going to kill myself if this happens or I’m going to kill your mom or your pets,” Williams explains.
It can be scary for a victim to share their story, so the most important thing you can do if someone approaches you is listen, take them seriously, be kind to them, connect them with resources to get help, and then keep checking on them to make sure they are doing ok.
“Just start by believing their story,” Williams said. “You'd be surprised how often people aren't believed when they share about child sexual abuse or adult sexual assault.
Talking about this with your kids could end up helping a victim become a survivor.
“It's maybe not so comfortable to talk about with kids, but they might have a friend that shares with them too that something bad happened to them,” Williams said.
There are also warning signs to look for in a child if you think they are a victim of sexual abuse. Advocates say to look for behavior that is drastically different than before. For example, if a child starts isolating themselves, starts to have behavior issues, begins using alcohol or drugs at an early age, or all of the sudden is getting bad grades.
If you need help there are resources available. Advocates will help a victim from the beginning of the process until the very end.
For more information visit: http://www.lcsnw.org/spokane/safet.html
Or call: 24 Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line: (509) 624-7273 or 24 Hour Crime Victim Crisis Line: (866) 751-7119
Man Is Killed & Fatally Stabbed at Bus Plaza In Front of 100+ Kids & People Standing By
After a six-hour manhunt, which included a home-by-home search, Spokane police caught a suspect they believe fatally stabbed a man Saturday afternoon at the crowded Spokane Transit Authority Plaza downtown.
Officers arrested Donald T. Phillips, 40, just after 9 p.m. Saturday after a homeowner saw him emerge from bushes in Peaceful Valley just west of downtown and called police.
Soon after, officers discovered a nearby home on fire. Police believe Phillips may have set the fire, which was quickly doused by a SWAT team and Spokane firefighters.
Hours earlier, a man fitting the assailant’s description had been spotted by Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, who lives in Peaceful Valley. Snyder tailed him briefly with 911 on the phone.
The manhunt was sparked by the stabbing inside the bus station at 701 W. Riverside Ave. about 3:20 p.m.
The victim, who has not been identified by police, was looking at bus schedule information on a screen when the assailant came up from behind and stabbed him with little or no warning, said STA CEO Susan Meyer, who viewed security footage that clearly shows the incident.
“It was horrific,” Meyer said. “It appeared to be one stab, and it was over very quickly.”
Spokane police Capt. Dan Torok said in a news briefing late Saturday that the victim and Phillips knew each other.
“It was not a random attack,” he said.
Police said that Phillips has an extensive criminal history.
Meyer said an STA security officer was riding down the escalator when she saw the assailant walking out of the plaza with a knife still in his hand headed toward the Sprague Avenue exit. The officer, however, quickly saw the victim and rushed to his side, said Meyer, who praised the work of the STA security team. Four STA officers were on scene at the time.
Witnesses said the man was knifed in the chest and that the assailant walked away, escaping in a crowd that was largely unaware of what had happened. A police officer, who arrived on scene within two minutes, and paramedics spent several minutes giving the victim chest compressions before he was taken to a hospital where he died.
Soon after their arrival, police evacuated the STA Plaza, though bus riders still were able to catch buses outside.
Meyer said security video from the plaza and buses that were outside at the time of the attack captured a clear picture of the suspected assailant.
Many people inside the plaza didn’t know about the stabbing until evacuated by police. Some witnesses said they heard no screams, though one witness interviewed by police who declined to give his name to a reporter said he heard the assailant say – as he walked away with a knife in his hand – that he had told the victim not to mess with him.
Michael Iverson, who was at the plaza waiting for a bus, said he didn’t see any fighting or commotion prior to the stabbing.
“I didn’t realize anything was going on until the dude hit the floor,” he said.
The victim was in the southeast corner of the first floor when he was stabbed. Iverson said the victim appeared to have been stabbed in the chest near his heart.
A couple hours later, Snyder was in the front yard of his Peaceful Valley home when he saw a man matching the description of the assailant walk up public steps leading from Water Avenue to Main Avenue.
When the man began speaking to neighbors, Snyder dialed 911. The man saw Snyder on the phone and asked him if he was talking to police, Snyder said. Snyder told him no, but asked him if he needed to call police.
“He said, ‘I don’t need the police.’” He left and Snyder followed. The man told Snyder: “I’m going this way, you go the other way.”
On the advice of the 911 operator, Snyder let the man get farther ahead and he eventually lost him. Torok said police were contacted by a Peaceful Valley resident at about 5:30 p.m., saying the suspect entered his home and tried to hold him at knifepoint.
“The homeowner was OK,” Torok said. “There was no struggle.”
Snyder said he saw the suspected assailant one last time about 5:40 p.m. at Main Avenue and Cedar Street, heading toward the river.
Officers shut down the Peaceful Valley neighborhood, closing off streets and warning residents to stay inside. The suspect was eventually apprehended after 9 p.m.
Although police statistics show crime has fallen so far this year compared to the same period last year, officials have dealt recently with many high-profile incidents that have hurt the reputation of downtown. In response, police Chief Frank Straub put more officers on patrol downtown and instituted other measures to target crime in central Spokane.
Citywide, violent crime was down 24 percent in the first five months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, police statistics show. Violent crime was down 13 percent in the downtown district. There has been a long debate within the downtown business community about whether the plaza hurts business.
But Meyer, who arrived at the plaza soon after the attack, said the STA and police have worked hard to make it safe and noted that there are about 13,000 boardings onto buses each weekday.
“There isn’t a link between a building and an attack,” Meyer said. “Downtown urban areas have crime and this was a tragedy.”
Billy Ogan guilty of exposing self to teen at STA Bus Plaza
SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane judge has found a registered sex offender guilty of exposing himself to a teen at the STA Bus Plaza earlier this year.
Judge James Triplet found Billy Ogan guilty after a one-day trial in which Ogan acted as his own legal counsel.
The judge found that Ogan was being obnoxious and try to draw attention to himself when he approached the teen in the plaza's smoking area. The court went through the surveillance video second by second and conceded that while the cameras did not show body parts that Ogan's hand motions and the witnesses' testimony convinced Triplet Ogan had exposed himself to the girl.
"I have no reasonable doubt that Mr. Ogan made an open and obscene exposure of his penis … that it was intentional and not an accident or involuntary act," Judge Triplet said.
Ogan interrupted the proceedings to call the 16-year-old victim a liar.
Ogan had claimed the surveillance video, which showed him speaking to the teen victim, would exonerate him and the teen and arresting officer lied in their testimony.
The court disagreed with Ogan's defense and found him guilty of indecent exposure with sexual motivation, a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 months in the Spokane County Jail.
The incident at the STA Bus Plaza happened shortly after Ogan was released from jail after serving a 90-day sentence for a similar conviction involving an incident on the South Hill.
Ogan, who is currently in custody, will be sentenced in July.
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