Veteran Sues Police Officer After Being Arrested For Holding ‘God Bless The Homeless Vets’ Sign

Screenshot/YouTube/Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

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A third lawsuit was filed Monday against the police officer who arrested a veteran for holding a “God Bless the Homeless Vets” sign outside of a city hall building in Georgia, according to the watchdog group that filed the lawsuit.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a free speech advocacy group that provides legal defense, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jeff Gray alleging that Port Wentworth police officer Robert Hemminger knew that Gray was within his constitutional rights to protest when he arrested him in 2021, according to the lawsuit. This marks the third lawsuit that FIRE has filed on behalf of Gray after the organization previously challenged another arrest of his and a citation he received.

“In Port Wentworth, Georgia, my rights were violated upon the whim of government employees,” Gray said, according to FIRE. “Now I am honored to be working with FIRE to ensure that never happens again.” (RELATED: College Violated ‘Academic Freedom Promises,’ Forced Group To Move Speaking Event Online, Watchdog Alleges)

Screenshot/YouTube/Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Screenshot/YouTube/Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

“Port Wentworth Police Sgt. Robert Hemminger knew that Jeffrey Gray wasn’t doing anything wrong or unlawful when Gray stood outside of Port Wentworth’s City Hall displaying a sign reading ‘God Bless the Homeless Vets,’ the lawsuit states. “Sgt. Hemminger told Gray as much, and he told the employees inside City Hall the same thing: Gray was not doing anything wrong.”

Gray’s activity was within his First Amendment rights as well as a declaration of the space outside the city hall as a public forum, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages for Gray along with attorney’s fees in an amount to be decided at trial.

FIRE previously filed a lawsuit in Alpharetta, Georgia where Gray was also arrested for holding a “God Bless the Homeless Vets” sign, and in Blackshear, Georgia where Gray was cited for protesting without a permit outside city hall. The City of Blackshear has since rescinded the law that allowed officers to give Gray a citation.

Port Wentworth Police didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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