Shreve raises First Amendment questions with social media posts about protest

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Jefferson Shreve, the Republican challenging Mayor Joe Hogsett, raised questions this week about whether he would use the resources of the Mayor’s Office to try to block protests he disagreed with.

Shreve said Wednesday in a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook that he would attempt to prevent a pro-Palestine group from protesting at Indianapolis’ war memorials and criticized Hogsett for failing to condemn the planned protest.

After comments and questions about whether a government official trying to stop a protest would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the “right of the people peaceably to assemble,” Shreve’s campaign on Thursday tried to clarify his statements, and said he believes in the right for citizens to protest.

Shreve’s comments came after five groups affiliated with the Indianapolis Liberation Center organized a pro-Palestine gathering for 5:30 p.m. Thursday on Monument Circle. A web site for the event called it “a day of resistance.”

On Wednesday, the Republican mayoral candidate wrote in a lengthy post on X that “as mayor, I would do everything in my power to stop a group with this vile outlook from assembling on property dedicated to Americans who have died for our country.”

The discussion and protest came days after militant group Hamas attacked Israel towns Saturday, leaving hundreds dead according to the Associated Press. The attack led Israel to declare war on Hamas.

Shreve called on Hogsett to condemn the protest. Hogsett later posted a statement on X condemning the Hamas terrorist attacks but not the protest itself. Shreve doubled-down on his stance in a reply to the mayor’s post.

“Should pro-Hamas rallies take place on monuments to our war heroes? As Mayor, I’d say no,” Shreve posted.

Shreve’s spokeswoman said on Friday that meant that he wouldn’t allow the group to protest on the monument itself but wouldn’t object to the protest being just off the memorial, which is what the group did.

Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ethan Evans, an independent, identified himself as the only Jewish person on the council in a reply to Shreve’s post.

“The first amendment to the Constitution says speech is protected,” Evans wrote. “You don’t have a say as mayor.”

Daniel Conkle, a constitutional law professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said the government is only allowed to restrict protests in manner that is content-neutral.

“It is constitutionally illicit to target demonstrations simply because of the particular viewpoint being expressed,” Conkle told IBJ.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Shreve told IBJ in a text, “Jefferson believes in free speech and the right to assemble. He stands with Israel and condemns Hamas. He believes the purpose of this assembly is wrong.”

The campaign later sent an emailed statement attributed to Shreve.

“Yes, in our society, citizens have free speech and assembly protections, even when it’s vile, hateful or ignorant,” the statement from Shreve said. “But I continue to call on Mayor Hogsett to condemn not the ability of this group to speak, but the substance of their speech, as he appropriately did with white nationalist protesters a few years ago.”

Late Thursday, the pro-Israel group protested on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, while the pro-Palestine group chanted on the sidewalk in the southeast quadrant of Monument Circle. Organizers and police officers told IBJ neither group was required to obtain a permit, and neither did.

The Monument itself is state property.

For city property, permits are required for events that draw 250 or more participants when obstructing the right-of-way, or using a temporary structure or display, according to Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services spokesman Kurt Christian.

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29 thoughts on “Shreve raises First Amendment questions with social media posts about protest

  1. Shreve should have one of his flunkies do some legal research. The federal courts have more than once in the past 60 years ruled against the State of Indiana, the entity that owns Monument Circle, and the War Memorial, as the State has attempted to prohibit groups with viewpoints they didn’t like from using the facilities to hold rallies and protests. Score: Protestors Won, Indiana Zero. While there are many reasons this man Shreve is not qualified to be the Mayor, this may be the most glaring…if he doesn’t like what you have to say, he will move to stop you from saying it in public on a public property. But yeah, he’s all for the Constitution and cool stuff like that. While maybe no so big on the First Amendment, he’s all for the Second. You know, the one that lets him and his followers carry firearms so as to intimidate and threaten those who might not agree with him…

    1. You mean carry weapons like BLM did during the 2020 riots!? You’re sounding a bit hypocritical Tim.

    2. I only remember the the anti-BLM idiots like Kile Rittenhouse were the ones openly flaunting weapons.

    3. I have footage from 2020 of protests on Monument Circle that clearly show nobody with weapons.

    4. Just munching my popcorn while the Dems fracture over their historic dependence on Jewish bankrolling of the party, versus their instinctual “side with the little guy” no matter how violent and dysfunctional the little guy is.

      We now have basically the equivalent of turf wars on our woke college campuses, where the minority group (usually pro-Israel) is literally forced to bunker down in locked academic buildings.

      The terrorist history of Hamas is well-documented and difficult to separate from Palestinian civilians, though it must be. Not all Palestinians (or even most Palestinians) support Hamas.

      That said, Israel’s claim that the attack in September was “unprovoked” is delusional. And their use of “never again” to fend off genocide should apply to Israel itself too…but does it?

      Just let the two sides massacre one another to the last person standing. The region will never know peace. Que sera, sera.

  2. IBJ pulling a muscle trying to come up with hit pieces on Hogsett’s opponent.
    Guessing the IBJ employees and Andre Carson were all there and carrying anti Israel signs

    1. People should be carring aniti-Israel signs. And anti-Hamas signs. At the same rally. it’s time the world demanded an end to this charade. Israel is not some innocent in this. While they’ve been eager to have journalists show the world what Hamas did, they are far less willing to have the impact of their activities in Gaza, or the West Bank, made known. Israel has killed as many, or nearly as many, civilians in Gaza as the Hamas attackers killed in Israel. And Israel is just getting warmed up. They asked the UN to evacuate 1 million civilians. 1 million. There is no food, water, or power in Gaza because of Israel, and little transport or infrastructure. And they want the UN, which has a mimimal presence there, to move 1 million people? Now the can say they tried to get the civilians out of the way, before Israel slaughters them, as they’ve been doing for years in the West Bank and Gaza.
      None of this is to say Hamas and other anti-Israeli groups are better. The weekend attack was an atrocity. But lots of atrocities have been committed by both sides over the last century such that neither side is virtuous. Remember, Hamas in Arabic is spelled Irgun; Hezbollah translates to Haganah, and PLO to IDF. Israel had its terrorist groups, and still has them under the IDF umbrella.
      The Trump/Saudi peace plan to declare the status quo as the final resolution likely caused the Hamas attack. It represents a repudiation by all outside powers of 50 years of position, all because Israel would not permit a nation state for Palestinians in the West Bank. Illegal settlements, occupation tactics by IDF and Israeli police that are clearly in violation of international law. What Hamas did was inexcusable; what Israel does daily is equally without forgiveness.

  3. Shreve seems desperate for any issue to gain attention. We have many area residents – both Jewish and Palestinian – who have family members and friends in Israel. They all have a right to peacefully speak their piece in the USA without government retribution.

    Does Shreve sometimes forget that this right is protecting HIS hourly campaign of complaining about our Mayor? Shreve crossed a dangerous line. Our constitutional rights are not Republican or Democrat but all American.

  4. What a dumb issue to talk about before a mayoral election. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse run campaign. Infringing on people’s first amendment rights in this way is illegal. He’s also not scoring any points by showing how ignorant he is on this topic.

    This is nothing like the white nationalist protests. I support Israel defending itself from terrorism, but a lot of innocent people in Palestine are about to be killed. These people have been oppressed by the Israeli government and their own leaders for a long time. Protesting against war and oppression shouldn’t be compared to ignorant white nationalists marching around in a country in which their ancestors were immigrants.

    If the pro-Palestine crowd were waving Nazi flags or chanting anti-semetic rhetoric, then the comparison would be valid. In this case, the protesters appeared to simply be advocating for a free Palestine, and against the war/Israeli government. If anyone has reporting that contradicts that, please share it. Wanting peace and stability for Palestine is not the same as being pro-Hamas or pro-terrorism.

    Most Americans are too ignorant to even have a strong opinion on the conflict, myself included. I’m not religious, and this is a war rooted in religion, no matter what either side says. Maybe people should stop fighting wars and arguing over imaginary gods, but that’s just my opinion. Whatever happens, I just hope civilian deaths are minimized and this doesn’t turn into WW3.

    1. You clearly didn’t look at their website. It celebrates the deaths of Israelis/Jews. Antisemitism has no place in our public square. Hamas is just as bad as Nazis and it appears many in our society are OK with turning the other cheek as many countries did in the 1930s.

      Hogsett doesn’t want to upset his left flank (i.e., Carson), so don’t expect any significant pro-Israel posts. He was more than happy to condemn white nationalists though.

  5. TO Kevin P: gee, I don’t recall condoning anyone carrying weapons during a demonstration or rally. BLM, KKK, White Christian Nationalists, anyone. In fact, if you knew anything about me, I don’t condone anyone but public safety officials and sworn members of the official state militia carrying guns of any sort at any time outside of their home, and then only in their official capacity. No conceal carry, no open carry. You don’t get to bring your guns with you unless you’re in one of those two classifications. Period. No exceptions. Felony convictions to follow for violators.

    1. No guns didn’t work out so well for the over 1200 innocent Israel’s
      that were murdered.

    2. Keith – you seem to not know much about Israel and their service requirements and their weapons rights etc…

  6. Although our first amendment does protect the right to “protest” it does not protect the right to protest as a representative of a foreign government, which the pro Hamas folks do represent. It does not protect the right to desecrate memorials and remembrances of veterans and those that have served or died in service for our country.
    The public streets are open. They should obtain permits etc.. The first amendment also allows others to show their opposite views as well.

  7. Thank you Jefferson Shreve for standing up for the Jewish community in Indianapolis. Hogsett wouldn’t dare speak up on this issue for fear of upsetting the Carson acolytes.

    According to their own website, the Indianapolis Liberation Center is celebrating the killing of children, women and other innocent parties in Israel as part of their recent hostilities.

    I guess I am finding out that there are a lot more antisemites in Indianapolis than I thought. Hitler would be proud.

    1. Casey
      + 1
      It amazes me to that so many Dems and their leftwing allies will not
      condem Hamas. They are hypocrites to their core.

      Hitler and the Nazi would certainly be proud of Hamas.

  8. Israel has no choice but to into Gaza after Hamas, what are they supposed to do. You have a hostage situation, and let’s not forget that there are approx. 20 Americans also being held hostage. It is a horrible for the people of Gaza but the blame should go squarely on Hamas for using the innocent people of Gaza as human shields. The atrocities that Hamas committed need to be dealt with accordingly. Hamas will now feel the wrath of the Israeli army and deservedly so.

  9. This posturing by Shreve is ridiculous. 1A applies to everybody, even to people with stupid ideas. I don’t like those who celebrate Hamas or who want the destruction of Israel, but they have every right to protest.

    1. Robert H.

      Free speech includes protecting speech that is considered offensive.
      That’s what the 1A is all about.