March 6, 2003 - Times Online: India RPCV Stephen Downs pleads not guilty to trespassing

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 03 March 2003: March 6, 2003 - Times Online: India RPCV Stephen Downs pleads not guilty to trespassing

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 11:00 pm: Edit Post

India RPCV Stephen Downs pleads not guilty to trespassing

Read and comment on this story from the London Times on India RPCV Stephen Downs who pled not guilty to trespassing and cited his right to free speech after the 60-year old lawyer was arrested while wearing a T-shirt saying “Give Peace A Chance” and "Peace on Earth." He could face up to a year in prison. Read the story at:

Shooting the messenger: lawyer arrested over anti-war T-shirt*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Shooting the messenger: lawyer arrested over anti-war T-shirt

From Elaine Monaghan in Washington

POLICE have arrested a 60-year-old lawyer wearing a T-shirt saying “Give Peace A Chance”.

A judge charged Stephen Downs with trespassing after he politely declined to leave the Crossgates Mall in a suburb of Albany, New York State, on Monday evening, or remove his top, which he had had printed there.

Mr Downs pleaded not guilty and cited his right to free speech. He could face up to a year in prison. His son, Roger, 31, avoided arrest by removing a T-shirt saying “No War With Iraq” on one side and “Let Inspections Work” on the other.

His father’s second offending message was: “Peace On Earth.” “We weren’t talking to people or handing out leaflets,” Mr Downs Jr told a local newspaper. “My point was I’m not trying to convert anybody,” his father said.

Most Americans support President Bush’s war plans, but many Democrat voters oppose them. James Murley, the local police chief, told The Times that his office had been inundated with complaints since the arrest. “We’re getting all kinds of e-mails, some of them rather nasty,” he said.

Chief Murley said that one of his officers had tried for an hour to persuade Mr Downs to end a stand-off with two security guards who stopped him and his son after a shopper reported a confrontation with passers-by that she thought might turn nasty. But, as one guard pointed out three times in his deposition to police, he did so “in a nice way”. The other guard took a tougher line, alleging that the men were “bothering” shoppers by telling them why they opposed the “pending war with Iraq”. Chief Murley said that the shopping centre had signs advising customers that the “wearing of apparel likely to provoke disturbances” was banned. Paul A. Clyne, the District Attorney, also said that it was up to the mall to choose its clients.

However, Mr Downs may have an ace up his sleeve when he appears in court on March 17, with no jury. He is the director of the local office of a state commission that investigates complaints against judges and imposes punishments.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - India; Speaking Out; Iraq



By parag n on Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - 8:01 pm: Edit Post

should indian peace keeping troops go to iraq?

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