ACLU files suit on behalf of woman ordered to remove offensive Christmas light display
POSTED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 4:34pm
DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (NBC33) — The ACLU filed a law suit today in federal court on behalf of a woman who was ordered by city police to remove a Christmas light display that was considered to be offensive to residents in her neighborhood.
Sarah Childs installed a display in the shape of an extended middle finger on her rooftop. Residents complained to law enforcement and a Denham Springs Police Officer allegedly ordered her to remove it.
“Not only is it a direct First Amendment violation, the city also does not have the right to retaliate against Ms. Childs collaterally for conduct it could not prohibit directly,” Justin Harrison, ACLU attorney, said.
Childs removed the display; however, she eventually reinstalled it, but included a second hand. Again, an officer was sent to her home, but this time he allegedly threatened to arrest her if she failed to comply. She claims she was then instructed to remove it while the officer waited and watched from the yard.
The suit was filed against the City of Denham Springs in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.