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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

It's something, but it still shouldn't have happened in the first place

The whole COUNTRY is a "Free Speech Zone" or our Constitution is meaningless.
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- The Charleston City Council apologized Monday to two protesters who were arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally at the West Virginia Capitol.Nicole and Jeff Rank, of Corpus Christi, Texas, were removed from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with President Bush's name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back.Trespassing charges were dismissed last week. On Monday, the city council adopted a resolution to apologize."If Nicole and Jeff Rank did nothing other than peaceably exercise their right of free speech and _expression as guaranteed by our Constitutions, they should not have been arrested or charged with a crime," the resolution states."The City does hereby apologize to Nicole and Jeff Rank."There was no official count for the vote, but it appeared to have bipartisan support.Mayor Danny Jones, a Republican, backed the resolution written by Councilman Harry Deitzler, a Democrat."We support our police department," Jones said. "But we regret this happened, and quite frankly we want to put this behind us."Trespassing charges were dropped Thursday after a judge determined that city ordinances do not apply to Statehouse grounds.Jones had earlier said the city officers who filed the trespassing charges were acting under the direction of the Secret Service, but a spokesman for the Secret Service denied the agency was involved in the arrests.Efforts to reach the Ranks were not immediately successful Monday night.