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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  Southern 'justice'
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Thursday, October 29,2009

Southern 'justice'

How about that justice of the peace in southeastern Louisiana who recently refused to marry an interracial couple?

This one is almost as good as that whole balloon boy thing.

Keith Bardwell, who is white, refused to issue a marriage license this month to Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, who is black. The Louisiana governor has called for Bardwell’s license to be revoked.

Bardwell says that he always asks whether the bride and groom are interracial, and if they are, he refers them to another justice of the peace. He says no one has ever complained about his approach in the past, and that the reason he doesn’t marry interracial couples is that he is worried about the lives of the children they might have.

Huh? This kind of thing still goes on in the year 2009?

The best reaction to this story came from Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice. “Perhaps he’s worried that the kids will grow up and be president,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama, who is the son of a white woman and a black man.

Bardwell told the Associated Press, “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way. I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Piles and piles? What are they —shoes?

ACLU reprimands police

This week the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned the city of Boulder’s response to those renegade Facebookers who dared suggest that the Mall Crawl be revived.

A few weeks ago, Boulder police knocked on the doors of the two organizers and reportedly threatened them with legal action and said they would be held responsible for any costs incurred by the city should the Mall Crawl proceed. The men backed off.

But the ACLU recalled that there was something in the Constitution about having the right to assemble, and we think maybe it was in that one amendment that talks about freedom of speech. The ACLU sent a six-page letter to city officials and Boulder police on Oct. 22, detailing why the city’s response was unconstitutional and why it chilled and threatened rights protected by the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

In the letter, the ACLU opens up a can of case law and urges the city to make no further threats against the men, to apologize for the police department’s “false and misleading charges and threats,” and to ensure that such a response does not happen again.

In the meantime, if you are on Pearl Street on Halloween, try not to assume the character that you are dressed up as, or you might get a faceful of tear gas.

Unless of course you’re dressed as the balloon from Fort Collins, which seems pretty harmless.

Above the belt, please

Speaking of the ACLU, the Boulder chapter jumped on a recent advisory issued by Taser International saying police should try not to shoot Tasers at people’s chest area.

The ACLU sent a letter to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner on Oct. 21 urging the agency to suspend its use of Tasers because they can cause death. An ACLU news release says that deaths “are to be expected as ‘collateral damage’ from Taser use, which is implicit in the company statement that this change is about ‘enhancing the ability to defend such cases in post-event legal proceedings.’”

Out of curiosity, we looked up Taser online and found a follow-up, damagecontrol statement intended to address concerns about the original advisory. In part, it explains, “By simply lowering the preferred target zone by a few inches to lower center mass, the goal of achieving Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI) can be achieved more effectively while also improving risk management. Additionally, it lessens the risk of shot placement into areas that are undesirable such as the head, face, neck, and female breast.… Also, this preferred area results in increased effectiveness by allowing the bottom probe to affect the lower extremities such as the pelvic triangle and legs.”

Hey now. Hold the phone. It’s not cool to shoot a woman in the boobs, but the “pelvic triangle” is fair game? Ouch!

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