Renton: First Amendment? What First Amendment?

The law enforcement authorities in Renton, Washington apparently don’t think the First Amendment applies in their jurisdiction. They’re trying to have a cartoonist thrown in jail for making fun of them.

The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos.

The “South-Park”-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications. While the city wants to criminalize the cartoons, First Amendment rights advocates say the move is an “extreme abuse of power.”

The story continues:

Only KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne holds a key document that really lays bare the city’s intent. The document was quietly filed in King County Superior Court last week. It’s a search warrant accusing an anonymous cartoon creator, going by the name of Mr. Fiddlesticks, of cyberstalking (RCW 9.61.260). The Renton Police Department and the local prosecutor got a judge to sign off as a way to uncover the name of whoever is behind the parodies. Halsne talked with three nationally respected legal experts who believe the use of the cyberstalking statute is likely stomping on the constitution.

The series of web-based short cartoons feature a mustachioed street cop and a short-haired female bureaucrat. The dry, at times, witty banter between the two touches on some embarrassing insider secrets, some of which seem to match up with internal affairs investigations on file within Renton PD.

Here’s one of the videos:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc6-vlJG1W0

It’s hard to imagine a more obvious abuse of power than this. You’re the government. People get to make fun of you. Get over it.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • ‘smee

    xtranormal is teh kool.

    and cyberstalking? WTF!

    I would normall say “get a life” but… the folks in Renton are obviously undead zombies, so that would be tantamount to inviting more crime!

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Fatwa on Mr. Fiddlesticks!

    When did Virginia become part of Denmark? Creeping Sharia, indeed…

  • http://www.ranum.com Occam’s Blunt Instrument

    Let the Streisand Effect rule!

  • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com bricewgilbert

    @Pierce Washington state.

  • http://physicalism.wordpress.com/ Physicalist

    Isn’t PZ from Renton? Makes you wonder . . .

    (I like Renton b/c they have free wi-fi throughout the town. Too bad about the cops.)

  • 386sx

    Wow, that’s not a very “hip” reporter. The cartoon isn’t “South Park style”, nor is the person who made them a cartoonist. Lol.

  • brionhet

    I’m so mortified! I was born in Renton, and lived there my first

  • brionhet

    I’m so mortified! I was born in Renton, and lived there my first 12 years. Now I feel kind of dirty…

  • brionhet

    Okay, so that was weird. I swear I didn’t commit premature submission!

  • felix

    Madison “Oh my god! They killed the constitution!”

    Jefferson “You bastards!”

  • Midnight Rambler

    That reporter needs to get some glasses as well. The Youtube username is Mrfuddlesticks, not Mrfiddlesticks.


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