Canton Coverup Part 315: Michael Morrissey Files Motion Banning Protesters, Dogs, Water Bottles, And Sweatshirts Saying “Free Karen Read” Within 500 Feet Of Courthouse During Trial


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The Commonwealth filed a motion this morning to ban protesters from being within 500 feet of Norfolk Superior Courthouse during Karen Read’s murder trial, and it’s the most ridiculous, unconstitutional thing I’ve ever seen. They particularly call out “Free Karen Read” chants and people using bullhorns (me), and even went so far as to blame dogs wearing FKR gear.

This pooch is apparently something that keeps Michael Morrissey up at night.

But luckily Nathan the dog will no longer be able to intimidate witnesses and jurors if Morrissey’s order is allowed. The proposed order sites MGL Chapter 268, Section 13A – the picketing statute I am currently facing 4 charges of stemming from the July 22 peaceful rolling rally in Canton – as the basis for banning peaceful protests outside of the courthouse. This statute is the exact opposite of narrowly tailored, as it uses language like “in or near a building.”

What is “near a building?” Apparently it’s whatever the Commonwealth defines it to be. In this case, 500 feet. But to be clear, the protesters are not protesting with the intent to interfere, obstruct, or impede the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing witnesses or jurors. They are protesting because they’re upset about government corruption and are exercising their First Amendment rights. I was the test subject the government used to see if they could get away with turning peaceful protesting into a crime. When they didn’t get a lot of pushback from First Amendment organizations like the ACLU they saw the green light to weaponize it on everyone.

The proposed order would threaten anyone with prosecution for carrying signs, making statements, carrying papers, water bottles, tote bags, pins, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, or any other item that could be used to write the words “Free Karen Read.” The buffer zone would extend all the way to the parking lot of the registry of deeds.

If this order is allowed it will make it a criminal offense to walk within a 500 foot radius (almost 2 football fields) of the courthouse. This extends all the way to Dedham Center and the Registry of Deeds parking lot. You could be going out for coffee with no intention of going to the courthouse, but if you’re wearing FKR gear you will be charged with witness intimidation if Morrissey gets his way.

Keep in mind, Norfolk Superior Courthouse has a backdoor that jurors can use if the Commonwealth is worried about them being intimidated. We only protest in the front. The government has made no attempt to stop protesters outside of Trump’s or Derek Chauvin’s trials.

According to the ACLU’s website citizens have the right to protest on public property:

Yes. Freedom of speech and assembly — which are fundamental to the functioning of democracy in America — are protected by both the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Articles 16 and 19 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

You have a right to engage in free speech and to assemble with others in “traditional public forums,” such as public streets, sidewalks, and parks, as well as other public places, like plazas in front of government buildings, where assembly and speech are generally allowed.

The witness intimidation statute in Massachusetts is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. But up until now the government has never weaponized to silence protesters. That has all changed with the Karen Read case because they don’t like how effective our movement has been at exposing their corruption.

Anyway, if they actually allow this motion we will just start using coded language to show our support for justice. Instead of “Free Karen Read” we’ll come up with a slogan we’ll use, which will mean FKR to us, and see if they try to ban that. Maybe if they were as concerned with finding out who was driving that Ford Edge parked outside 34 Fairview Road at 3 AM as they are at criminalizing our speech, then there would be no need for protesting in the first place.


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