About LDN

Letters to the Editor

Lincoln Daily News publishes letters to the editor as they are received.

The letters are not edited in content and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of Lincoln Daily News.

Lincoln Daily News requests that writers responding to controversial issues address the issue and refrain from personal attacks. Thank you!


Submit a letter to the editor online

You may also send your letters by e-mail to  ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com

or by U.S. postal mail:

Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
601 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL  62656

Letters must include the writer's name, telephone number, and postal address or e-mail address (we will not publish address or phone number information). Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to edit letters to reduce their size or to correct obvious errors. Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to reject any letter for any reason. Lincoln Daily News will publish as many acceptable letters as space allows.

Protestors at Kroger lot addressed; police chief's response

Send a link to a friend

Re: Recent violation of First Amendment by a municipality

I would like to express my concern and outrage at the Lincoln police officer's actions on April 11, 2006, involving the gasoline price protestors on College Street. The protestors were engaged in a peaceful, lawful and informational picket. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifically states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the state of Illinois in Article I, Section 4 and 5, guarantees Illinois citizens freedom of speech and the right to assemble. The officer's actions are a violation of both federal and state law.

Under threat of arrest, a lawful protest was dismantled based solely on one police officer's judgment that the signs involved were obscene and offensive. The Supreme Courts of both Illinois and the United States have considered protests that were much more offensive in tone and content and have affirmed the protections of the rights of citizens under our Constitution. Whether you agree with a person's point of view or not is not the issue. We have a long history of soldiers sacrificing their lives for this country to protect our freedoms. Clearly, our founding fathers intended these rights be protected when the Bill of Rights was drafted by James Madison and ratified by each state.

If our rights can be trampled so easily by law enforcement on a very noncontroversial issue like gas prices, how can our freedoms be protected on much more serious issues? Do we no longer possess the right to question the judgments of our government on issues such as war, religion, and the right to bear arms?

Beyond all of these rights that require protection, it is almost laughable that the signs described in the article were deemed an obscenity and the officer involved was praised by his chief of police for his conduct. When the city of Lincoln gets slapped with a federal lawsuit for violating people's constitutional protections, I hope the chief of police and the officer involved are prepared to chip in to pay the damages assessed against the city that are otherwise going to be the responsibility of the taxpayers of this community.

Considering the potential consequences to our city and to each of our rights, I believe that we should all demand an apology from the Lincoln Police Department and the officers involved, and barring that, there should be some other action taken to make everyone involved in this outrageous action accountable. I hope that the mayor and the city council will also address this issue.

Jessica L. Shawgo-Ferguson

[to top of second column in this section]


In reference to this incident on April 10, 2006:

Our officers had been dispatched to the old Kroger parking lot in reference to the informational picket going on there. The reason for our officer being dispatched to the picket was that a passerby saw some of the signs and believed there was some obscene writing on the signs and took offense to what was written. One of our officers went to the old Kroger store lot and met with the informational picketers. I have talked to the officer that responded to the call. The officer advised the individuals involved why he was there (the possibility of the obscene writing on the signs). The officer recommended some different wording to the individuals that they may use other than what was supposedly used. At no time while the officer was present did he make threats to the individuals that they would be arrested for any reason, and he also did not tell them that they had to stop picketing.

Robert Rawlins
Lincoln Police Department

(Posted April 18, 2006)

Click here to send a note to the editor about these letters.

< Recent letters

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor