Have we really come to the point where people can be arrested for saying words?
What happened to freedom of speech?
These two students were walking through a parking lot and playing a game by shouting out the most offensive words they could think of. Now they’re in jail.
NBC News reports:
2 white UConn students arrested after video showed them shouting racial slurs
Two white students at the University of Connecticut were arrested Monday after video that showed them shouting racial slurs prompted campus protests, university police told NBC News.
Jarred Mitchell Karal, 21, and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, 21, face charges of ridicule on account of race, color, or creed. They were released with a court date set for Oct. 30 at Rockville Superior Court in Vernon, Connecticut.
Karal and Mucaj’s charges could result in a $50 fine or up to 30 days in jail.
NBC sent emails to the two men Tuesday morning requesting comment but did not immediately hear back.
Campus police learned of the incident from social media footage showing Karal and Mucaj shouting epithets in an apartment complex parking lot, a university spokesperson told NBC News. The men were playing a game that involved yelling vulgar words, university police said, and then started shouting epithets. Karal and Mucaj were walking with a third man, whom police said did not shout epithets and was not charged.
Here’s a video report from a local news outlet:
FIRE is an organization that protects campus free speech.
They say this is unconstitutional:
The Connecticut statute is a rarely-enforced relic dating to 1917 and intended to address advertisements for businesses, not every use of derogatory language. There are scattered references to charges under the statute in news reports and legal databases, but no substantive analysis of the statute’s constitutional viability has been undertaken by any court, much less any appellate court.
Why is it rarely enforced? Because it is plainly unconstitutional. The use of racially-derogatory language — without more — is protected by the First Amendment.
What has happened to our colleges and universities?