Members of the Amigos Motorcycle Club went to the Walla Walla County Fair. At the Fair they were given two options: remove their cuts or leave.
The Amigos were targeted because of their support for the Bandidos. That was a violation of the Amigos First Amendment rights. We filed suit against the County.
The First Amendment protects a broad range of public and personal expression on political, commercial, social and private matters.
Because of the First Amendment, we can post political signs in our yards, display bumper stickers and vanity plates on our cars, wear patches on our clothing and speak out at county counsel meetings. And what we say doesn’t have to be what the government wants to hear.
The U.S. Supreme Court has protected a lot of unpopular speech:
Flag BurningNazi Marches in Jewish NeighborhoodsProtests at Military Funerals
And it certainly protects one club’s support of another. Even if the other club is “unpopular” with the government.
Before any depositions were even taken the County decided to settle the case. The County may not have agreed with plaintiffs’ support for the Bandidos, but it did not have a right to silence plaintiffs’ expression on an important issue of public concern. The County acknowledged this in the most sincere way possible: by paying the Amigos $5,000 each and covering their costs and attorney fees.