PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – A Christian’s faith in the U. S. Constitution, and his Lord Jesus Christ, was rewarded when U. S. District Judge Mark E. Walker issued a 78 page Order on April 12, 2016 granting Mr. Richard McMahon an Injunction against the City of Panama City Beach regarding his exercise of his First Amendment right of freedom of speech at the city owned Frank Brown Park.
WWW.BillyGoBoy.com first broke the story of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Order being issued (April 12, 2016) on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.
CLICK HERE TO READ ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO PLAINTIFF RICHARD MCMAHON VS. MUNICIPALITY OF PANAMA CITY BEACH
Appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, U.S.District Judge Walker basically “slam dunked” the Municipality of Panama City Beach for essentially aiding and abetting the suppression of free speech by creating a 22 acre “exclusive use” zone in the PCB owned Frank Brown Park, and then allowing the PCB police force to be the enforcers if and when the event organizers decided to remove anyone to whom the event organizers didn’t want to be present at the event which included one follower of the Lord Jesus Christ named Mr. Richard McMahon.
Upon being contacted shortly after the Court’s ruling by www.billygoboy.com, Mr. McMahon quoted: “Matthew 10:16 Be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove. Ephesians 4:15 Speaking the truth in love 1 Cor 9:22 All things to all people… The idea is that we need to speak the truth with compassion… in a way that more people will receive.”
The Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty made Channel 13 WMBB TV(ABC) news on Friday when the story broke:
CITIZENS CAMPAIGN PROTEST AGAINST “BIG LICK” ANIMAL CRUELTY SET FOR NEXT THURSDAY AT PANAMA CITY BEACH CITY HALL
“PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.
A Panama City Beach man who says he was kicked out of Thunder Beach for trying to share Christian pamphlets won a victory in Federal court this week.
Judge Mark Walker ruled that Richard McMahon has the right to pass out religious material during the Thunder Beach event at Frank Brown Park, according to court filings. McMahon said city officials sided with Thunder Beach organizers who wanted McMahon removed from the event after he refused to stop handing out the material.
In response, Thunder Beach organizers said many of them are devout Christians and that they host on site religious services and rent booths to Christians but did not want McMahon to distribute his material unless he rented a booth.
McMahon claimed others were allowed to distribute material to the crowd but he was singled out.
In a preliminary injunction walker Ruled that event organizers who use a city park for an event that is free and open to the public cannot suppress the public’s right to free speech.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in November.
However, the issue may come up again soon. The “Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty,” issued a news release Friday afternoon noting the ruling and announcing their intentions to protest an upcoming horse show event.”
Judge: Local man can proselytize at bike rally
By ZACK McDONALD News Herald Reporter
Posted Apr 15, 2016 at 5:45 PM Updated at 5:48 PM
PANAMA CITY — A local man who was threatened with arrest for proselytizing during a Panama City Beach motorcycle rally has all but won his federal lawsuit against city officials, according to court documents.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker granted an injunction in the lawsuit Tuesday, allowing Richard McMahon to hand out religious leaflets during the Spring Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally. He claimed city officials violated his constitutional right to free speech in a public forum last year when officers allegedly prevented him from handing out religious literature in Frank Brown Park. Despite city officials arguing that Thunder Beach’s permit granted them “exclusive use” of the park during the festival, Walker sided with McMahon.
“The First Amendment does not yield to magic words, whether ‘open sesame,’ ‘abracadabra,’ or ‘exclusive use,’ ” Walker wrote in his opinion. “Such sorcery cannot accomplish the novel feat of converting public property into private property, and it cannot allow the city to do indirectly what it could never do itself; namely, allow unfettered discretion to suppress speech in the public forum.”
Walker added that the city’s action runs counter to the very purpose of the First Amendment and is the type of “mischief” the free speech clause was meant to thwart.
“This court cannot, will not and must not allow it,” he wrote.
Walker found that McMahon’s claim, a violation of his right to free speech, was substantially likely to succeed in the court. He granted McMahon an injunction against the city, meaning he can attend Thunder Beach at the end of April and distribute reilgious literature, which effectively ends his lawsuit.
Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert said the city had argued it was not changing public property into private property but rather that the event itself is private. He used the analogy of somebody renting a gazebo in a public park and having the right to eject a person crashing their party.
“He felt it was different than that,” Gisbert said. “Freedom of speech is something we all need to respect and protect, though. We will honor his ruling and continue to have public events at the park.”
McMahon also had asked that his attorney’s fees be paid by the city. Gisbert said that likely would be paid out by the city’s insurance.
In his complaint against city officials, McMahon’s attorney said he has regularly attended the semiannual Thunder Beach Rally at Frank Brown Park to share his evangelical Christian beliefs. On each occasion, he peacefully passed out gospel tracts and engaged willing listeners in friendly conversations.
McMahon said he saw other people passing out fliers advertising local bars and night clubs, and that he assumed literature distribution was permitted at the event. Thunder Beach officials, however, denied they would permit such conduct to occur, and claimed they have at times asked club promoters and timeshare vendors not to distribute information at their event without renting a booth.
At two separate Thunder Beach rallies, security asked McMahon to leave Frank Brown Park while distributing religious leaflets. The second time, he was unwilling to back down. Security eventually called the police, and McMahon was told if he did not leave the property, he would be arrested for trespassing on public property, court records stated.
McMahon left and was not arrested. He filed the lawsuit in February, saying both Frank Brown Park and Thunder Beach appeared to be open to the public and protected speech. Despite the city arguing the contrary, Walker agreed.
“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck,” Walker said. “The festival site looks, walks and quacks like a park, so it’s a park. Other than the word ‘exclusive’ in the permit agreement, there is nothing in the limited record before the court to distinguish Thunder Beach from any other gathering held on the public forum on which is sits.”
CITIZENS CAMPAIGN AGAINST ‘BIG LICK’ ANIMAL CRUELTY PRESS RELEASE