ACLU sues after counterprotesters ticketed in Lynn | News

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SALEM — The Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU has filed suit against the state police on behalf of two people ticketed and ordered to leave during a counter-protest in Lynn last November.

The plaintiffs, Heidi Olson, of Gloucester, and Michael Picard, of South Windsor, Connecticut, were taking part in a counter-protest near the Lynn seawall, an area managed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, on Nov. 21.

The two were reacting to anti-LGBTQ protests and statements that accused the town of Swampscott of “trying to make everyone gay.”

The two had a satirical sign that read, “Let’s make everybody gay.”

Olson and Picard were also collecting signatures on a petition to hang a gay pride flag at the seawall, and used a bullhorn at times to make themselves heard.

A state police trooper ordered them to stop using the bullhorn, asked them to leave, and then sent them $200 tickets for making “excessive noise,” in violation of DCR regulations.

Lawyers for the two argue that the regulation is unconstitutionally vague and violates free speech rights.

The suit also alleges that the two were never given an opportunity to challenge the citation and that the state police violated the state’s public records law by failing to provide requested materials.

“It would be inappropriate to comment in the media on pending litigation,” state police spokesman David Procopio said in response to a request for comment. “We will respond in the proper venue, before the court, at the proper time.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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