Kansas Supreme Court rules in favor of loud protestor

Photo credit: Amine M’siouri 

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

As someone who has participated in marches and demonstrations across New York City, especially years ago as a college professor, I can well understand the demonstrations that occurred following the murder of George Floyd. New York City has a noise code, but my associates and I were not called out for demonstrating noisily.

However, we learn from Jason Alatidd’s article in the Topeka Capital-Journal that this was not true for Gabrielle Griffie of Wichita, Kansas, who led a noisy protest following Floyd’s death. Griffie, the organizer for the Project Justice ICT, was found to be in violation of a section of Wichita’s noise ordinance that deemed her protests with a megaphone as “criminal behavior.”

Alatidd informs us that the noise came from Griffie’s speeches, when she used a megaphone to enhance what she way saying. However, the protest was not stopped nor was Griffie arrested immediately. She was later charged and convicted of disorderly conduct, and had to pay a small fine or do community service.

Griffie later appealed her conviction to the lower courts in Kansas. When the conviction held up, she brought the case to the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor. This Supreme Court action essentially struck down the portion of the Wichita noise ordinance which ruled that individuals involved in noisy demonstrations must be charged as criminals.

There was some discussion in the opinion about the noise portion of the ordinance being too broad, suggesting that other cities in Kansas may have to rethink similar ordinances.

Share this article:

Article Categories

Search Articles