Halloween condo costume considered ‘demonstration’ requires permit, Florida woman claims she was told
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An activist from Florida said a police officer warned her not to wear a square condominium Halloween costume at a local party without a permit because it was seen as a protest against a planned development on a beach funded by the taxpayers, according to a report.
Nonetheless, Cat Uden, a vocal critic of the project, said she plans to wear the costume at a block party in downtown Hollywood, Florida, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
A week ago, Uden invited people on Facebook to come to Hollyweird’s Halloween party in disguise and with anti-condo signs to which police responded that they would need a permit for a staged protest.
The condo would be built on the current site of a park and community center. Another park and community center would be built elsewhere if the project materializes. A committee vote is expected later this year.
“Decorate a box and join us for the fun!” Uden wrote on Facebook. “The more condos we have together like a condo canyon, the more impact we will have.… This event will attract a lot of people and it’s a good way to spread the word. #HollyWeird.”
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She said days after the letter that a police officer called her to warn her that wearing the costume and leading other people in a protest would be considered an illegal protest without a permit.
“I told her it was a costume party,” she told The Sun-Sentinel, arguing that she has a constitutional right to wear a costume. “I don’t see this as a demonstration and that’s why I didn’t apply for a permit.”
She said the officer eventually agreed that she could legally wear the costume, but only if she didn’t tell anyone what it was or why she was wearing it.
“He said if I told someone why I was wearing a condo costume, it would be an illegal protest. I was shocked,” Uden said.
She could be kicked out of the Saturday night party for wearing the costume or arrested or fined if she ignores an initial warning from officers.
She said she would leave her son at home when she attended the party, which is expected to attract around 5,000 revelers.
“I don’t want him to see me being harassed by the police,” she told the newspaper.
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Bob Jarvis, professor of constitutional law at Nova Southeastern University, told the Sun-Sentinel that police were on “shaky ground” with his warning, saying his right to wear a suit and express his opinion was protected by the first amendment. “There is no reason to believe that she is inciting anyone or that she will start a riot,” he said.
“It’s getting weirder and stranger,” said Clive Taylor Jr., who also opposes the project. “If people want to send a message with their costume on, I don’t see what the problem is. It’s freedom of speech. People are very passionate about their beach and they don’t want to see gigantic condos walking by. north of Hallandale. “
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