NASHVILLE, TN – The Tennessean newspaper today reported that a First Amendment civil rights lawsuit was filed Tuesday, August 23, 2016, in the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville) by www.billygoboy.com reporter Clant M. Seay against Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland in Seay v. Rowland, John Does I-X, Civil Action No. 16-00068.
Waiting For U. S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) To Attend His First Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 32 Years.
Photo of Sheriff Bucky Rowland being recorded on June 3, 2016, by www.billygoboy.com reporter Clant M. Seay after Sheriff Rowland instructed Seay to turn off his video cameras.
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“Horse soring activist sues Tennessee sheriff
Stacey Barchenger, firstname.lastname@example.org 8:19 p.m. CDT August 25, 2016
An animal welfare activist says in a federal lawsuit a Tennessee sheriff violated his rights when the sheriff prevented him from recording a walking horse show in June.
Clant M. Seay says his constitutional rights were violated when Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland approached him at the Columbia Spring Jubilee horse show at Maury County Park on June 3.
“The fear of intimidation, threatening and interference by Sheriff Rowland and his deputies severely restricts and impairs Seay’s constitutionally protected exercise of freedom of the press at the public Maury County Park guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Seay’s lawsuit reads.
Seay, of Oxford, Miss., says he is a journalist and owner of billygoboy.com, a website that documents Tennessee walking horse shows by recording and photographing shows in public spaces. He also is affiliated with a group that protests those shows, Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty.
Tennessee walking horses have a naturally high gait that offers a smoother ride, but some trainers use padded shoes and ankle chains to encourage a higher step. Big Lick is a name of the more distinct gait that is exaggerated by painful training techniques called soring.
Rowland told Seay and others they may be violating copyright protections by recording the show. Seay questions why the sheriff would get involved in a civil matter.
Rowland could not be reached Thursday for comment. On Wednesday he told The Daily Herald newspaper in Columbia: “I am not aware of a lawsuit but am looking forward to clearing this up.”
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Seay says he and others will return to the Maury County Park for the P.C. Splash Horse Show on Sept. 24.
But he asks a federal judge to issue an injunction to stop the sheriff from intervening. The case was assigned to Chief U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp in Nashville.
Seay asks Sharp to award damages as “an important vindication of his constitutional rights.”
Reach Stacey Barchenger at 615-726-8968 and on Twitter @sbarchenger.