A Louisiana trucker is suing a town over its new ordinance preventing him from flying a flag displaying a vulgar insult against President Joe Biden and the people who support him.
Ross Brunet is demanding a court declaration that he was engaging in free speech when flying his flags. He is also seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the city of Grand Isle, a town on the barrier reef in the Gulf of Mexico.
Brunet works at the city as a contractor for Cut Off.
The trucker was cited by the city four times for flying the vulgar flags, but he defended himself successfully in court. He was then cited three more times by the city, which later dropped those citations.
The town nevertheless adopted a decree against signs on vehicles containing “language deemed offensive and vulgar [or] obscene in nature and [that] contain language that describes a sex act.”
Brunet filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the city was infringing on his freedom of speech.
“Mr. Brunet’s speech has in fact been chilled,” read the lawsuit. “He is fearful of and refrains from engaging in his protected political speech in Grand Isle, out of fear of government punishment or further retaliatory action.”
Brunet is being represented by the Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic.
“Speech that is offensive, vulgar or that references a sex act is protected by the United States Constitution,” read the lawsuit. “Indeed, core political speech is often offensive to the listener, and yet is a highly protected form of speech.”
The lawsuit names as defendants the mayor of the town, the police chief, the town attorney, the police officer who issued the citations, and a Grand Isle magistrate judge.
The city would not comment on the lawsuit.
A similar case unfolded in a neighborhood in Roselle Park, New Jersey, in 2021 when a woman refused to take down her expletive-filled anti-Biden flags despite objections from her neighbors.
“I’m not giving up. I don’t care what it costs me, I’m not giving up. I’m standing my ground,” said Andrea Dick about her flags.
Here’s more about vulgar, anti-Biden free speech: