Augusta protest rules might need fresh look, sheriff says

Augusta hasn’t had a protest ordinance since 2004, when an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled it unconstitutional after National Council of Women's Organizations head Martha Burk was forbidden to demonstrate outside the gates of the Augusta National Golf Club.

 

It might be time to revisit the issue, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said today.

Questions of rules and fairness are coming up again with the “concerned citizens of Harrisburg” staging protests in neighborhoods and along Wheeler Road, and they’re crying foul over the way they were treated by police Wednesday when they picketed a landlord’s residence in upscale Forrest Hills.

“We can’t get crack houses out of Harrisburg,” organizer Lori Davis said Thursday, “but they can get us off the Hill quickly.”

Sheriff Strength said he stands by the actions of Deputy Jesse Jackson, who told the protesters they were creating a traffic hazard and had to move.

“We could not allow anyone to picket in a street, because of a safety issue,” the sheriff said. “We’re charged with safety. Picketing we don’t mind. That’s their constitutional right.”

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