Protester removal: Boar's Head denies ordering trespassing arrest

Protesters along the street in Charlottesville are not an unusual sight. Out on U.S. 250 west in front of the entrance of the upscale Boar's Head Inn, demonstrators are more unusual– and so was the response when Dominion Virginia Power held its shareholders meeting there May 12.

Chris Walters, 57, a carpenter and environmentalist, had gotten an email about the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy rally on the morning of Dominion's meeting, and he decided to demonstrate his disdain for mountaintop removal, a type of strip mining that some consider an environmental nightmare because of the damage it does. The protesters hoped to sway shareholders going into the meeting to consider other types of renewable energy and to nix more nuclear power plants.

Instead, someone called the cops and insisted that the demonstrators were on private land and had to leave, according to Walters.

"When the police started asking people to move to the other side of the road," says Walters, "I started walking away."

He headed west and says he was standing between the white stripe of the road and a guardrail when an Albemarle police officer allegedly said, "You have to leave; it's private property," says Walters. "I said, no it isn't. He said yes it is." And when Walters refused to leave the side of the road, he was arrested for trespassing.

Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead is incredulous that police would arrest a protester on the side of the road. "There are a preponderance of cases out there," he says. "As long as it's not dangerous or obstructing traffic, he can be there. The officer didn't cite safety. He said the Boar's Head Inn wanted him gone."

"We can arrest in the public right-of-way if it's obstructing traffic," agrees Albemarle police spokesman Sergeant Darrell Byers. "Sidewalks would be public, and the side of the road would be a public right-of-way. I believe some of the protesters were on private property."

Albemarle police were already on the scene, contracted by Dominion to handle security and protests, according to Byers. He also says the property owner would have had to ask for the ouster of the enviro-protesters, but he declines to identify who made the request. The land along Route 250 on either side of Ednam Drive, which leads to the Boar's Head complex, is owned by the UVA Foundation.

"As far as I know, we had nothing to do with that arrest," says Boar's Head Inn public information person Pat Burnette.

"Executives at the UVA Foundation looked into the matter and confirmed that the Inn had no role in the arrest," says UVA spokesperson Marian Anderfuren.

Jane Foster, 86, has been to dozens of demonstrations, and she thought it was bad enough the 40 or so protesters had to be on busy U.S. 250 rather than in front of the Inn.

"The police insisted we move across the street," she says. "You could see they'd never had to handle anything like this before."

Both Foster and Walters say the officers were very polite.

The Rutherford Institute will represent Walters when he goes to court July 19 for trespassing, and it's not the first time the civil rights organization has defended an alleged trespasser on First Amendment grounds.

In 2005, then House of Delegates candidate Rich Collins was arrested when he refused to leave Shoppers World, where he was handing out leaflets in front of Whole Foods. On appeal, Collins' trespassing conviction was overturned, but he had less luck with changing Virginia law to protect free speech on private property that acts as a public forum.

"Even if he was on private property," says Collins, "it was an important enough event to warn the public. I find it unfortunate Virginia law doesn't protect free speech on private property that's open to the public."

“Chris Walters has a right to engage in political expression, and his arrest is an egregious violation of the First Amendment," decries Whitehead. "The fact that Walters was arrested for exercising his free speech rights in Charlottesville, a city that prides itself on being the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, who envisioned America as an empire of liberty, is a sad reflection on how we value freedom today.”

Updated June 28 with information from the University of Virginia Foundation.


I get tired of this police mentality: it must be a violation of SOME law, so go ahead and write a charge. If Boar's Head is saying they weren't asking for the ouster, and especially if Boar's Head doesn't own both sides of the road, then it seems pretty clear to me that this case needs to be dismissed post haste, and a thank you note needs to be sent to the overzealous still-learning-about-the-First-Amendment cop for wasting everybody's time.

I can't believe that anyone would support mountaintop removal if he/she understood what it entailed.

I wonder how all these protest loving liberals would like it if I brought MY right to freedom of speech on private property into their living rooms and started chanting about how great a president Bachman will make when she sweeps the Kenyan Pretender out of office next year? I wonder how many of these "first amendment champions" will support my right to drown out their MSNBC liberal fest as I march back and forth in front of their TV?

Bachman, ya dodo...the problem is the guy was no longer ON private property, and the owner of the private property in question claims they weren't asking for anyone to be removed OR arrested. I wonder how all these protest hating conservatives would like it if I brought MY right to protect my private property and arrested you out of your own living room that I don't even own? I wonder then, if your vacuum eyed goddess would come to your aid. By the way...dude, the election was years ago. You have a black president. Deal with it.

You seem to be sort of missing the point -- these protesters were not on private property. If you want to spout your Bachman-luvin' hooey on the side of the road in front of my house, there's not much I can do. But if you start marching back and forth in front of my TV, I'm pretty sure that it would be my second amendment rights that come into play rather than your first amendment rights.

They should drop the trespassing and charge him with failure to follow a lawful order from a police officer and wreckless endangerment. There is not enough room between the white line and the grass for anyone to be safe. It was a safety issue and the officer was right to ask him to move.

The police asked him (by his own account, politely) to move across the street. Instead of moving he challenged the police officer. That was not the time or place. Just follow the officers request and file a complaint so that it does not happen again.

Regardless of whether you like the looks of mountain top mining it is their mountain and if they are within the law it is their right to do so. Lobby the lawmakers not the power company.

If you don't like it drink a few less lattes and get together with all the other spoiled brats and buy your own mountain. (of course when your student loans come due and the only job you can get is flipping burgers you will be GLAD to sell the top to the power company.)

Tim, what was the lawful order of the police officer that was disobeyed? To leave the area because it was private property and the owner wanted them gone? (When it turns out that it was NOT private property and the owner DIDN'T want them gone?) You're saying they should be allowed to amend the charge and make up some bull-droppings that they were being asked to leave for highway safety reasons, when that was never the case. I don't think you thought through your proposal very well.

The Boars Head Inn is owned by the University of Virginia Foundation, a real estate arm of the University, founded by Thomas Jefferson . How can they defend this action ?

PS: Tim, not everyone that is against destroying the environment drinks lattes. I drink beer, but not coffee. I weld, but I don't do yoga. Oh, and I think that exploding mountains apart is a REALLY dumb idea. Try again, with your close-minded stereotypes, but, see, the problem is they just aren't accurate. There's a lot of us guys who are probable WAY manlier than you, that actually give a crap about the environment.

What kind of writing is this: "a type of strip mining that some consider an environmental nightmare" SOME? Even the people blasting away the mountains know it's an environmental nightmare! How in the hell is removing an entire mountain NOT an environmental nightmare?

This area is rife with "officials" who are poorly educated about the laws they're charged with enforcing and I have witnessed a number of instances where they appear to be simply winging it and making stuff up to fit the moment. The arrest of Mr. Walters seems another case of this and , sure, the charge will be dismissed, but he will be inconvenienced fighting the charge and won't be compensated for the wasted time and lost wages. The officer will suffer no consequences and that's the whole point of this sort of thing. The police have the freedom to make illegal arrests all the time just to "maintain order" and we, the sheeple, can't do jack about it.

the foundation is coming the foundation is coming. WTF arent we sick and tried of the frigging UVA Foundation running everything in this town.Its like Nazi Germany around hear.

Just gimmee my coal, so dominion can generate my electricity. So they can charge me to generate it, then charge me a transmission fee and then a fuel fee. I love when the consumer takes it in the shorts. wait arent we Nuclear? why am I paying for fuel? ugg just removed the mountain, its an eyesore!

This guy had no way of knowing a) whether the land was private or public, and b) whether Boars head had called the police. If the officer lied then there is a complaint process. The Officer has an obligation to keep the roads safe for everyone. This guy could have easily caused an accident being where he claims to have been. All that would have needed to happen is for a full size truck to come by, cross over a little to avoid him and panic someone driving coming the other way who could have hit someone who actually FOLLOWED THE POLICE OFFICERS INSTRUCTIONS.

The only mistake I see that was made was the Officer not charging him with refusing to move because he was creating a clear and present danger to hundreds of drivers and other protesters.

Whether you swill beer, weld or plant flowers the advice is still the same... lobby your legislators to make the act illegal. It is legal and the EPA who regulates the CO2 we expel has deemd it legal.

Put your money where your mouth is and save the land.

Ugly ain't illegal. Cutting down forests ain't illegal. If you don't like it then turn off your lights and stop using power and they won't NEED to burn coal...

Or you could just find a solar powered welder and refrigerator for your brew.

ok, let mee hlp some of you people out regarding the so called private property. Its not private property regardless what the cops or Boars Heads thinks. Land by the road on both sides of the guardrail is owned by the state. Sidewalks are owned by the locals that are on public roads. The officer arrested the man falsely and illegally. Don't worry about Dominion Power, we are going to put them out of business shortly.

Angel Eyes, there most certainly is jack people can do in wrongful actions. It's called "lawsuit". Been there, done that. 7 times. Prevailed in all 7. There is no way in the world any judge will rule this was private property if the boots truly indicate where the man was standing, it's clearly state owned property, a part of the highway right-of-way. The charge never should have been trespassing.

Tracy Carver, how exactly are we going to put Dominion Power out of business?

The state on Virginia should have at least a 40 foot right of way along that road. That means if you measure from the center line of the road to the edge of the right-of-way will be 20 feet which should be a few feet from the other side of the guard rail. Some roads have more right-of-way than others so you can call the state department mapping office and they can tell you the amount. If this person was on state property he should sue the county for wrongful arrest.

Bob, you're totally wrong about your numbers. The government doesn't own the first 40 feet of my yard. Tim, you're saying that the citizen was wrong...because he was in the right but couldn't have known it! That makes about as much sense as an eject seat on a helicopter. Why am I not surprised that you're into Bachmann? Did you even notice the part of the story where they SPECIFICALLY pointed out that the officer NEVER ONCE indicated that he was concerned about a traffic safety issue? In your universe, an officer is allowed to do whatever he wants and then just invent different reasons for it afterwards. You're looking for's like 10,000 miles west of here. If you wanna stay in America, learn the rules, dude.

random citizen you are totally wrong about Bob's numbers. He had nothing to say about your particular situation. What he wrote is that the state owns at least 40' of roadway and additional right of way. That's generally the minimum. It is almost certain to be wider on that section of Rt. 250.

protesting is about as american as the consitution/bill of rights or boston harbour tea party. i guess the nazi's are in charge in virginia

I wonder were the team from The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression are. This is up there for one of there yearly Muzzle awards.

:"If we here only those views of which the majority hold, then you and I are free so long as we agree with the majority"

Sorry about the spelling, it is early. It should have been go "figure" in the name bar and "hear" not here in Tyranny of the majority.

Why is UVA such a politically apathetic campus? Also what
rules apply to the Planned Parenthood protesters that don't
apply to others? I think the generally anti-authoritarian attitudes
of both the left and the right in the US provide a safeguard against
fascism though the activities can be messy. Finally check out
Google Earth to see the effects of mountain removal in WVA--it
will make you gasp.

UVA power mongers have long forgotten and most likely have never studied the teachings and writings of their founder who would not recognize his own university concept now. What is amazing is their collective lack of common sense. If a fox bites someone on campus, trap a different fox and kill it to demonstrate your power. Buy a china restaurant on 29 and put a cool million profit in Capshaw's pocket then let it sit unoccupied for years. Build, build, build and borrow, borrow, borrow and they will come with higher and higher tuition and donations. Mismanage the foundation portfolio with risky private equity investments. If relationships with other hospitals are broken then buy adjacent buildings and open competing practices that duplicate services. The list could go on forever. Dominion power uses the same mentality that they are omnipotent and can do what they want now and deal with any consequences later. Elected officials tell you what they think you want to hear then do their own bidding usually for their own self interest. Are there any honest people left out there? Who is John Galt?

The guardrail is irrelevant. If the Boars Head owns the land but the state has a right of way it gives the STATE the right to use it for specific purposes. It does not give Joe Citizen the right to trespass. The state may have a right of way 100 feet into their property but that does not mean he could have jumped the guardrail and entered legally. The state right of way on most roads does not end at the sidewalk it is more often then not the telephone poles, but you cannot walk on someones grass because you think you own it.

Also just because a clerk at Boars Head says they didn't call doesn't mean someone didn't call or that the paperwork in court won't show different.

Civil disobedience has its place. On the side of the highway in traffic is a pretty stupid place to make a point.

I hope he gets convicted and has to pick up trash along the same road.

Bill, if he's not convicted, what do you wish for then? Do you think he should simply go home, sit down and laugh about it? Perhaps there should be some type of mechanism in place where he could make the cop go out there and pick up trash along the same roadway.

Just take a trip to West Virginia to see how mountain top coal removal devastates the countryside. The mining industry owns that state as they do others (e.g. PA).

Wait until the "frackers" show up here. They will further devastate the environment drilling for natural gas via the fracking method on an unsuspecting public. Goodbye clean water!

@ GSOE, C'mon, you must know by now that Tim and Bill don't let the Constitution or rights stand in the way of their arguments. That pesky document gets in the way of their pretzel logic. I hope the dude sues. WWTJD?

Bachman for Prez You've been watching the Faux News Network to long . If that "Does" happen Ill believe the world is only 8000 years old and really isn't flat

If he is not convicted then the officer needs to be retrained. The dude should have not been on THAT side of the road. It was unsafe. If the Officer did in fact LIE then the officer should be disiplined and the dude should get an apolgy and sue if he wants. BUT, next year the officer should tell him he is creating a dangerous situation and to move and lock him up if he does not. We all have the right to freedom of expression and speech.. but only within parameters of society. Society has the right to make sure your freeedom of expression does not endanger other people who are following the law.

Would you all be defending him if he were wearing a sheet and holding up a burning cross?
Would you all be defending him if he caused a ten car pileup that killed a dozen kids in a school bus?

If you have a problem with the police then lobby youtr lawmakers for change and better accountability.
If you have a problem with coal then lobby your lawmakers for change.
If you want people to stand on the side of the road betwen the shoulder and the guardrail and create a dangerous situation then lobby for that.

Civil disobedience is supposed to be used when nothing else works. Take the ticket and seek redress in court, do not argue with a police officer who is simply asking you to move. It is not like he was trying to sieze the sign or beat him.

The guy was acting like a jerk because he disagrees with the LAWS that are in place. That is not how it works.

The root problems are government accountability to the people AND citizens accountability to other citizens.

My guess is Tomas Jefferson would have advised the kid to move and then seek redress from the Officers boss.

I still hope the cop was right and they make this dude pick up trash.

A quick trip to the Albemarle County GIS site will help you see where the right of way limits are in this area. It appears that this portion of Route 250 was built on a 60 ROW (pretty common for a road of this type), which means it is public property for roughly 30 feet on either side of the roadway center line (centerline of roadway is frequently not in the center of the ROW, especially where the roadway width transitions for turn lanes, etc.). Just sayin'.

Citizens do not have a given right to travel on "right of ways" The county has all kinds of right of ways that extend well into peoples properties but it is not county land for the purposes of public use. A good example would be Bisquit Run owned by the state but not dedicated for public use. One would be trespassing. Same goes for highway consruction sites and even median strips.

If the cop lied he was wrong. If the plat of land for Boars Head shows the property up to the road with the county having a right of way and they complained they are right. If the land actaully belongs to the county then the county has the right to ask people to leave county land and the officer would be the one to implement that request. Regardless, this dude had no justification for believing that the order was unlawful and therefore should have followed the instructions. The side of the road is not the proper forum to settle the issue.


On public roadways (like Route 250) they certainly do. And you may be confusing rights of way with easements.

@ Bill, Dude! "Would you all be defending him if he were wearing a sheet and holding up a burning cross?", "Would you all be defending him if he caused a ten car pileup that killed a dozen kids in a school bus?" WTF Bill?

You always put the cart before the horse! The protester didn't kill anyone and it's a ridiculous argument. Isn't this the same argument you used regarding the young lady given a breathalyzer in Crozet? What are you afraid of? Surely there are enough people actually committing crimes that we can let the people who aren't live their lives?

"Regardless, this dude had no justification for believing that the order was unlawful and therefore should have followed the instructions". This guy didn't do anything and you rationalize that because he didn't know he wasn't breaking any laws he was in the wrong! Great day man!

Deleted by moderator.

bachman teaparty overdrive is in the house....

If you are instructed by a police officer to move your car, yourself or your dog off the shoulder of the road you are legally obligated to do so. If you question the authority of the officer you file a complaint and are entiled to have your redress considered.

We are a country of laws and there are right ways and wrong ways to address issues. Defying the Police is the wrong way. If he had followed the order, investigated the law,filed a complaint and it was not addressed then that is what the press (and the courts)are for. Ignoring an order from a police officer on the side of the road is WRONG.

I WANT the police to keep order within boundaries, The disagreement here is whether or not the police were reasonable in their request and had a reasonable basis to make it. If Boars Head complained and claimed it was their property and the dude didn't have the plat then the officer made a reasonable assumption. It is no different than if a farmer with 500 acres claims that a hunter is on his property, the police don't demand to see a plat they read the name on the mailbox and look at the tree line. If it makes sense they go with it.

The dude was challenging an officer of the law. There was no reason why he couldn'r cross the street and file a complaint later. . I hope the court nails him.

Actually Bill, the issue here is whether or not the dude had a right to be where he was. He did. The issue is whether or not the Boars Head had any right to ask the protesters to move, they didn't. It's not about what could've happened. You try to come across all "law-and-order", but it comes across all "jack-booted neo-con". Go find a Tea Party rally and let the rest of us be. That said, I'm out of wind, you exhaust me.

omigitspaul... how do you know that he had the right to be there? Does anyone have the right to stand on the side of a major highway whenever they want? The police have no rights to ask them to move? Can anybody just disrupt traffic on a major highway whenver they want?

If the Boars Head has a title that shows the boundaries up to the road do they have any rights?

The police have an obligation to keep the popluation at large safe.

I appreciate your input and I do realize people can file a suit, but that can be heavy lifting...I'm just making the point that the cop shoppes have the home ice advantage.
As for those who raise the issue of who owns property, it is the case that ownership of a right of way does not mean one owns the property on which the right of way exists. So it could conceivably be the case that Hoars Bed owns that property on which the state has a right of way, but nonetheless it is also true that if the state has a right of way then members of the public including pedestrians are allowed to be there and that would include Mr. Walters.

Bachman for prez tea party

@ Love C-ville, No, no...I heard Bachman was going to let Palin jump in instead...go back to putting her down.

Foe Let Palin jump into what ??? Isnt it true that Bachman is just Palin with a full head mask on?? Gotta Go .The fog is lifting and I think I can see Russia from my backyard!!!?!?!?!?

Common sense should tell ya standin on da side of 250 right by dat guardrail is not good for ya health, especially da way sum peeple be drivin in dat area

@ Tim Taylor...I drive everyday, in traffic with pedestrians, bicyclist and all manner of distraction to the left and right of me. I have not once hit someone standing on the side of the road. He wasn't in the middle of 250, he was on the curb. If he were to get hit, it would be due to the poor driving skills of a motorist, not because he was exercising his right to assembly and protest. Look, I'm not making the argument that there wasn't a better place for the guy to stand. I'm simply saying that arresting him for questioning authority is a jack-booted move. A power play to keep the "unwashed masses", so to speak, off the Boars Heads lawn. Sadly, we've gotten to the point in this country where it is considered un-American to protest. I applaud the dude for standing up for what he believes in and taking the heat for it. I'm surprised there are so many people splitting hairs over the easement or right-of-way b#llsh!t, The only thing being harmed was the image of the Boars Head Inn and the DVP. Too bad.

So if you rented a room to a Doctor that performed legal abortions and this guy was standing on your grass (between the sidewalk and the street) crying a river about it and you wanted him off your lawn according to your plat then that makes the cop who tells him to leave a jack booted thug?

Your petty jealousy of those who have achieved success in their lives is sad. The Boars Head plays a place in society and provides jobs in the community.

I would bet that if someone got hit at that spot thier lawyer would nasme the Boars Head in the suit,,,

Protests are fine, get a permit so that everyone involved knows the rules upfront. That way there will be no question of whom can stand where.

Just because it might be state owned land does not make it public. Try and stand in the front garden at the courthouse or play volleyball in the median on 29.

You've really gone over the top now, Bill Marshall. If a pedestrian, bicyclist, town drunk or protestor got run over in that particular spot, how in the Wide World of Justice would they include the Boar's Head Inn as a defendant in a lawsuit?

Boar's Head can ask whomever they want to leave their property. I

Deleted by moderator.

Cut to the chase -- the problem is UVa and its arrogant, bullying ways.

Mr. Jefferson would be appalled.


Look at the picture.. those boots are less than 12 inches from the white line... ANYONE with a lick of common sense knows that two trucks side by side will come within a few inches of those boots and if the person wearing them was standing facing traffic they would be less than 6 inches from a vehicle driving by. So my assertion is that the person in the right lane would attempt to provide a wide berth and push traffic to the left.. so oncoming traffic (possibly giving a wide berth to the protesters on the other side) would adjust and BOOM. If you don't believe it fine.. butan Officer who was sent there in the interest of public safety needs some leeway to perform his job. His request was not unreasonable and his actions were polite.

Gasdog, I am not saying that a lawsuit against Boars Head would prevail, I am saying that a lawyer will include them in the suit because they have deep pockets. All your years of lawdooging and you have never seen that?

Regardless of your opinion of Dominion power boars head doesn't need to be punished for renting them out a meeting room. That would be like boycotting a toyota dealer because a molester drove a camry when he picked up little kids.

We are forgetting some thing aren't we? The Cops are suppose to up hold the law NOT Interpret The Law . And that's what they did

So if the cops are supposed to "uphold" the law and not "interpret" it then what would he have been doing if when the guy questioned his authority had he changed his mind?


As I said in an earlier post, I'm not arguing that about where the dude was standing. People stand on the curb everywhere. It's how you cross the street, lol. And you are correct, the officers request was not unreasonable. The arrest was. My argument isn't about easement or right-of-way, it's about rights and common sense on the part of all parties involved. Yeah, dude should have moved. No, cop shouldn't have arrested him.

I don't think anyone has suggested punishing the Boars Head Inn. I think the problem with your "child molester" analogy is that Toyota can't possibly know who is driving their vehicles, the Boars Head Inn knew the controversial nature of what was taking place and cooler heads should have prevailed.

Damn Bill, you have some seriously odd views of peoples rights. You assume that if an officer is speaking to someone, that that person has broken the law and is guilty of something (we'll figure out what later). I think your logic is flawed, but your system of injustice would sure save the taxpayers a bundle, lol.

Bill Marshall, I really think you would be happier somewhere like Syria, Egypt or any number of other countries where what you seem to want is the law. Putting a uniform, badge, or any other official government symbol on person does not give that person the power to insist that other citizens obey his or her whims unquestioningly, particularly when those whims infringe on fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens.


So when the cop asked the guy to move and the guy said "NO" what should the cop have done? The cop informed him he was trespassing. He told him as a sworn officer that he needed to move and there was no reason to belive that the officer had a dog in the fight other than enforcement of the written law and public safety.

I have ZERO problems with a cop being punished for lying and have commented many times against them, specifically when Gerry Mitchell was railroaded and the C-ville cop arrested the guy for telling him to slow down, but when a cop askes you to move across the street and tells you he will arrest youif you refuse, then move and file a complaint, don't create a big scene which could have caused an even bigger deal. Suppose the guy resisted arrest and they both got run over in he scuffle?

If a cop tells you that you are trespassing and you do not have a piece of paper in your hand proving your rights then the next step is to obey the cop and file a grevance or get yourself arrested and fight it in court. The police officer does not really have a "choice" he has an "obligation" to solve the problem at hand.

The dude created the conflict by defying a direct request, followed by a direct order from an Officer of the law. Unless the obeying of the order would cause harm there was no reason to not follow the instructions and file a complaint.

Somebody needed to be the adult out there and this guy wasn't doing anything but making a slightly dangerous situation worse.

Bill, if you are going to bring up past events, I personally think you should quote them in a little more detail. By all published accounts of the incident, a couple was crossing the street in a legally marked crosswalk. A police Jeep came storming through this crosswalk and almost ran them over. The pregnant female was knocked to the ground by the cop, and the male was arrested for suggesting the cop slow down and pay attention to traffic laws. When the male yelled at the cop, he had committed an unwritten violation of the law.... namely, "contempt of cop". Oh yes, trust me, it's real!

The correct thing for the cop to due was stop, make sure the couple was not injured, and apologize to them! I still wonder why it was so hard for the cop to stop and do the right thing instead of losing his temper. Whether Chief Longo will admit it or not, this "contempt of cop" thing still needs a lot of attention on his behalf out here on the streets of Charlottesville.

I too was the victim of what I feel comfortable in describing as a "contempt of cop" incident not long ago. The cop kept his eyes peeled for me and attempted to give me a traffic ticket about 2 hours after this "contempt of cop" incident took place. The judge dismissed the traffic ticket.

Put yourself in this guys shoes Bill. He was lawfully protesting in a quasi-public place, albeit not the safest place. He was told to move along by an officer of the law...he refused and was arrested.

What would you have done in this circumstance? If you were passionate enough about something to get up early, take part of your day and do something you think of as vitally important, and you were told to move basically because the people hosting the event you were protesting didn't like you there. What would you do? From what I see of you on here, your tenacious attitude, I think you'd be arrested. You don't back down from a fight and neither did the dude.

I drove past this protest on my way to work. These people were few in number and weren't creating the least bit of trouble, except perhaps to the Boars Head Inn. I think it would have just made more sense to accommodate the protesters until the meeting was over. There was absolutely no need for anyone to be arrested. I'm not anti-law enforcement in the least. I'm just tired of "little" people being pushed around by the powers that be.

I would have asked the officers name, crossed the street as he asked, done my research and if warranted, filed a complaint.

I would not defy a direct order from a police officer who informed me with the statement "this is private property you need to leave" unless I had in my possession paers to the contrary .Even if I had those and he refused to examine them I would have crossed the street and hung him with his own rope for not examinng the papers.

This is different than the cop who jumped out of his van downtown, I would have most likely been arrested for assult on an officer because the guy was attacking me. I would have still been wrong for not following protocol but that cop asked for trouble and this cop did not.

This guy wqas just a 57 year old kid who said "your not the boss of me" when in fact in that situation I believe the officer was.

The guy should have crossed the street.

"I would have asked the officers name, crossed the street as he asked, done my research and if warranted, filed a complaint." And your complaint would then be promptly ignored.

You would not have hung anyone with his own rope, and the people who didn't like your protest in the first place would have gotten what they wanted by mis-stating their rights to property which was not theirs to control.

My bad.I have over-estimated you. Once again, we will agree to disagree.

Your lack of faith in the system doesn't mean that the system cannot work. If my complaint were "promptly ignored" then I would go up the ladder until I got to the AG if nessasary.

I also would have had written documentaion and a precedent for the next guy if it were legal for him to be there. (which I still question on the basis that you cannot create a dangerous situation on public lands in the name of freedom of speech.)

I have enough confidence in the system to see it through to the end. That is the way it is supposed to work. Encouraging people to question authority in a fluid situation is not the way it is supposed to work anymore than it would be proper to push a baby back in because the nurse forgot her mask.

The rest of the protesters got it.

The rest of the protesters were sheeple Bill. Not unlike anyone who folds like a card table at the first sign of trouble. We've been conditioned to not stand up for ourselves. That it's un-American.

The system was broken when the dude was arrested, not afterwards. The system is supposed to work with us, not against us. WE are the system Bill. We have to stand up and be counted, not go along with the program. Going along with the program got us to this point. Not acceptable.

So when the cop was instructed to have people cross the street and this person refused what shoud the Officer have done? Should he disobey a direct order from a superior on this persons say so?

That is a serious question by the way....


"I would not defy a direct order from a police officer who informed me with the statement "this is private property you need to leave" unless I had in my possession paers to the contrary ."

I wouldn't if I had good reason to think I was on a public right of way. And at the edge of a road like 250, I would have that good reason. I think a police officer should be able to have a conversation and then give good reason to show me why I was wrong.

THEN I would go to the ACLU and start a massive law suit.

You implication that we should all just bend our heads and automatically grant authority to someone when we have good reason not to is very indicative of the authoritarian right wing mentality you all too often bring here. You try and hide it, but there it is.

There is a good saying:

Everybody's a Conservative until their rights are violated. Then suddenly they find liberalism. We'll wait until it's your turn.

Bill Marshall, again your legal reasoning is wrong. You DO have a right to refuse an unlawful demand of an officer. If he is operating under a mistake, he will arrest you and will not get in trouble for it, but you will be vindicated in court when your case comes up for trial. In fact, you will never get this same chance to vindicate your constitutional rights UNLESS you stand your ground on the side of the right and then duke it out in court. Thank heavens not everyone is such a pushover for the police like you, or our constitutional rights and liberties would never have been fleshed out to provide us the protections they do. When you are right, your fight starts on the side of the road...plain and simple.

Furthermore, Bill, in saying you would go up to the AG if necessary, you fail to see the problem with your approach. An AG may issue a policy binding on his underlings, and it promptly goes out the window every time an AG leaves the office and a new AG is sworn in. The courts will not hear any case that is "moot" or in which there is no party with live and active "standing". So if we follow YOUR advice, we never get a court to lay down a binding rule to instruct all people in the future what the bright-line rule is on the subject. The court EXISTS to define the edges of our Constitutional rights, and your suggestion is that we should never bring a case before them to let them do just that. You have a roll-over-and-die mentality and you don't even see it; you say, "Hey I don't say 'don't make waves'...I just say, 'don't make waves that MATTER.'" I know you don't THINK that is what you are saying, but it is the upshot of your approach. Ask anyone that has ever studied Constitutional law. Rosa Parks didn't become famous for moving to the back of the bus and filing a complaint later. She became famous for not moving AT ALL.

And Bill, if the officer were smart enough to realize that his superior officer were making a mistake of law and that he was in the wrong, then he should NOT arrest the person. A good officer would violate a direct order from his supervisor if his supervisor were ordering him to make an unlawful arrest. Any officer that is more concerned with rank and 'direct orders' than on only acting lawfully should probably NOT BE a police officer. If the officer didn't understand the law and his supervisor didn't either, then they WOULD make the arrest (not saying they SHOULD, because they are in the wrong) but they will not get in trouble because they were discharging the duties of their office in good faith, simply operating under an innocent mistake of law. They may be subjecting their office to a civil judgment for false arrest or not; they can call the Commonwealth's Attorney at any time and ask for legal advice, and they clearly didn't do that here. They also need to assess the situation logically: what is the danger that will be eliminated by arresting this person? (people won't have to see a protestor that they disagree with...this is of low importance; someone gets a trespasser removed...this is only at play if you have a clearly defined agent of the property asking for his removal, which they don't seem to have here). what rights are implicated by the protestors actions? (The First Amendment...the first right listed in the Bill of Rights, a part of the highest law of the land) What is the financial liability to the police department if we don't make an arrest that would have been legally proper? None. What could the financial liability to the police department be if we make an arrest that turns out to be legally improper? (unknown...perhaps substantial). Then, someone intelligent should have assessed the lay of the land, and an intelligent person would have come to the conclusion that there was no reason to arrest this person. Any citizen bothered by the inaction of the police may go down to the magistrate and swear out a warrant themselves. If you state a sound legal basis for a charge, the magistrate will issue it and then a cop will arrest on it for you

"Then, someone intelligent should have assessed the lay of the land, and an intelligent person would have come to the conclusion that there was no reason to arrest this person"

I respectfully disagree. A trained police officer assigned to keep the public safe and make sure they respect the rights of a private landowner asked a person he sincerely believed to be in violation of the law to leave. When that person refused the officer had a responsibility to arrest him. A police officer should never simply give up when someone challenges him and public safety is at risk. A police officer has some leeway to decide and I trust his/her judgement over a protester with an agenda.

Your myopic view of this situation does not reflect the real world. A police officer is legally the person representing the commonwealth in the situation and as such has certain rights that accompany his responsibility. I believe he acted properly in weighing the public safety issue vs this guys right to throw a tantrum and made the right decision If the guy is removed the chances of him causing an accident are reduced to ZERO.

Just look at the picture... do you want to be standing there when a dump truck or a stakebody full of sticks drives by?

I wonder how many of the Tea Party types arguing that this guy should have been arrested previously argued in favor of the protests in downtown Charlottesville against Tom Periello. Those were on what was unquestionably private property and the protesters even knew it in advance.

"Just look at the picture... do you want to be standing there when a dump truck or a stakebody full of sticks drives by?"

If I happen to want to do that, is it the nanny state's responsibility to keep me from harming myself?

I am not a member of the tea party and thought that their bellyaching was unwarranted

The problem with your accusation of a nanny state is wrong. It is not about your right to perform stupid acts it is the right of the guy driving the dump truck (full of coal?)to not have idiots standing on the white line. There are signs that say "no pedestrians" along major highways all over the nation where it is specifically illegal to be there. The reason for those signs is because some moron got himself run over because he was too stupid to stay out of the way.

The people had the right to protest. The government has a right to place REASONABLE limits on them in the interest of public safety and private property rights. When the government attempts to do so people need to show some respect for the rule of law and not place others in harms way or cause harm to innocent third parties (boars head)

This guy moving across the street would not have diminished the protest one iota. He wasn't Rosa Parks. He was more like south park.

So your driving down 250 and you see some guy in cowboy boots on the shoulder of the road, so being a good driver you move over to give him some room. But the guy right in front of you decides to do the same thing one second after you...

here is what happens...

lock him up.

"There are signs that say "no pedestrians" along major highways all over the nation where it is specifically illegal to be there" Yes, on Interstate Highways. US 250 isn't an interstate. There are no signs that say it is specifically illegal to be where the man was when he was arrested.

If you had bothered to actually read the article you've commented on, you would know that he wasn't arrested in the interest of public safety, he was arrested for supposedly being on private property when he wasn't. That is in no way, "REASONABLE."

Looks like you didn't read the article AND you didn't even bother to watch the video you linked to. It has nothing to do with the fantasy scenario you described, and has nothing to do with this article.

@ Tim Taylor, So you find someone exercising their constitutional rights comical because you don't agree with their method. Tell you what Tim, you will get the government you deserve....and you won't like it.

remember mr. walters was on the public right of way,just like a bicyclist might have been or a pedestrian walking to work. would the popo come along and ask them to"move along" or arrest them? probably not. the cop was responding to the request from the bigwigs and was overzealous. and maybe mr walters did not move along fast enough or ran his mouth. he got what sometimes happens. mr.walters is a big boy, he knows the game.

Lets see if Lunsford wastes our money prosecuting this....

Where is one term Tommy as a lawyer im sure he can fix this problem ? I hear he is looking for work after the people of the 5th gave him a pink slip.

If the Police give you an instruction to "move along" then "move along" If you think the Police were in the wrong file a complaint. If they do not responfd to the complaint go to the Board of Supervisors. If they do not respond then get out the vote.

The "constitutional" rights you all profess to hold so dear provide for this redress. It does not provide for anarchy because you want your binky.

Your inability to understand the process does not make you right.

"It does not provide for anarchy because you want your binky."

Sarcasm does not help your case. The guy was hardly an anarchist by walking down the right of way. Filing a complaint does not get you your day in court, it gets you buried under the mountain of paperwork on some overworked state employee's desk.

Again, a liberal is just a conservative until their rights are violated. One day you will be a liberal.

@ Bill, "Get out the vote"? What planet are you from? People have died for the last 250 years so we (read: You) could have these rights and your answer is "Get out the vote"?.

I pray that the rest of us (you and Tim aside), never have to live under the rule of law you believe exists. If I'm filing a complaint it's going to be for trampling my rights and false arrest, not because "the man" told me to move along. This isn't about anarchy, it's about right and wrong...

Seems to me he was an anarchist when he refused the direct instruction of a police officer when he did not possess credible evidence that the request was unlawful. Where does it stop? Do we refuse to surrender ID at a traffic stop because we don't believe we should have to have a drivers license? Do we ignore tax bills because we believe that taxation is unconstitutional?

The policeman asked him politely to move across the street. He gave him a legitimate reason for making the request. With all things considered, common sense would draw a reasonable conclusion that the trained police officer is more familiar with the details of the law than joe protester. Unless that person carried in his posession a copy of the plat or statute the benefit of the doubt should go to the officer. Especially since there was no imminent harm by following the request.

This protester could have gotten someone killed. There may no be a specific statute regarding this 50 foot of road but I am quite sure that there is one about creating a dangerous situation along a highway and the officer was not even obligated to give him a reason at the time.

The only mistake I see here is him being charged with trespassing instead of failure to obey a lawful order.

They will probably let him go but I am sure next time the police will be a little more prepared to follow the exact procedures to make it stick and this guy will get to tell it to his cellmate.

Seems to me he was an anarchist when he refused the direct instruction of a police officer when he did not possess credible evidence that the request was unlawful. Where does it stop? Do we refuse to surrender ID at a traffic stop because we don't believe we should have to have a drivers license? Do we ignore tax bills because we believe that taxation is unconstitutional?

The policeman asked him politely to move across the street. He gave him a legitimate reason for making the request. With all things considered, common sense would draw a reasonable conclusion that the trained police officer is more familiar with the details of the law than joe protester. Unless that person carried in his posession a copy of the plat or statute the benefit of the doubt should go to the officer. Especially since there was no imminent harm by following the request.

This protester could have gotten someone killed. There may no be a specific statute regarding this 50 foot of road but I am quite sure that there is one about creating a dangerous situation along a highway and the officer was not even obligated to give him a reason at the time.

The only mistake I see here is him being charged with trespassing instead of failure to obey a lawful order.

They will probably let him go but I am sure next time the police will be a little more prepared to follow the exact procedures to make it stick and this guy will get to tell it to his cellmate.

The last word doesn't make you right Tim. Folks are just tired of explaining the "American" way to you.

Tim and Bill, just because you wet your pants every time you see a cop and do anything they tell you doesn't mean everyone else should. Again, Rosa Parks changed the legal landscape of our country by not budging an inch. She is remembered as a hero. If she had taken Tim or Bill's advice, she wouldn't have been remembered at all.

This doesn't seem to be a progressive vs. conservative issue. The poles are more accurately authoritarian "law and order" vs. anarchic individualism (and I mean both in non-polemical ways), since you can have progressive authoritarians as well as conservative ones. The authoritarian-minded will have more deference towards authority than the anarchic, who will not give the authority deference when the authority is wrong.

It seems to me the police officer was strictly speaking wrong to say the protestor was trespassing, since the property is public. The police officer (and his superiors) should have known the facts instead of relying on the random phone call "They're trespassing!" or the protestor "I'm not trespassing!" So they are culpable and ideally should be reprimanded, since the police power must be held in check by real consequences.

Regarding the protestor, there are two plausible responses: (1) obey the illegitimate order made on false pretenses and make the complaint later, or (2) argue politely with the officer while disobeying. As someone who believes in the necessity and goodness of authority to which I therefore defer, I would have chosen (1) after politely explaining why the order was wrong: "You are wrong because of X and are therefore infringing my rights, but I will obey... and then follow up with a complaint."

Of course, as a conservative myself, I recognize that cultures only work to the extent authorities are held truly accountable and so I am a bit disappointed at the reflexive obeisance on display here without the necessary emphasis on accountability. Do we care whether the police officer or his superior who didn't get the facts right were made cognizant of their failure?

Well said Art...I think it might be a little too polysyllabic for some of our readers, lol.