Burgaw commission votes to rescind free speech space ordinance after lawsuit


BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Burgaw town leaders have rescinded a violation on free speech after facing a lawsuit by a preacher.

Patrick O’Connell filed the lawsuit back in March challenging the ordinance passed in October 2015 that designates a specific location for free speech activities during festivals in the town.

Police cited O’Connell during last year’s North Carolina Blueberry Festival after he refused to move from the Courthouse Square, where he was preaching.

Mayor Eugene Mulligan tells WWAY that at last night’s town commission meeting, the town’s attorney gave the background on the case.

Ultimately the council voted to rescind the ordinance, which leaders says was originally set up to make sure freedom of speech was protected.

Mulligan says O’Connell was impeding the flow of traffic at last year’s festival.

The town’s rules now goes back to the way they were, which means there is no designated area for free speech during festivals in Burgaw.

Categories: Local, Pender

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