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Roy v. City of Monroe

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

August 1, 2018

CLARENCE DEAN ROY
v.
CITY OF MONROE AND JAMES BOOTH

          KAREN L. HAYES Judge

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Clarence Dean Roy (“Roy”) against Defendants City of Monroe (“the City”) and James Booth (“Booth”). The case is set for a jury trial on August 27, 2018. On May 7, 2018, Defendants filed a pre-trial memorandum [Doc. No. 51] on contested issues of law. Defendants contend that, as a matter of law, Sergeant Booth is entitled to qualified immunity.[1] Roy also filed a pre-trial memorandum [Doc. No. 55]. Defendants filed a reply memorandum [Doc. No. 56]. Finally, pursuant to the Court's July 23, 2018 minute entry [Doc. No. 57], Roy filed a supplemental pre-trial memorandum [Doc. No. 58] addressing qualified immunity.

         For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for reconsideration on the qualified immunity defense, set forth in its Pre-Trial Memoranda [Doc. Nos. 51 & 56] is GRANTED, and Roy's claim for damages against Booth is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE on the basis of qualified immunity.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The City's public streets, public sidewalks, and public rights-of-way are traditional public forums.

         Roy is a minister who has often preached with his followers near the intersection of Pine and Third Streets in Monroe, Louisiana. He intends to continue to engage in expressive activity, including expressing religious, political, and social speech, within the City's public streets, public sidewalks, and public right-of-ways.

         The City adopted the City of Monroe Code (“the Code”), which contains the City's Charter and the general ordinances of the City. The Code states in Sec. 12-153:

         (a) It shall be unlawful to commit an act of disturbing the peace.

         (b) Disturbing the peace is the doing of any of the following in such a manner as would foreseeably disturb or alarm the public, or create any dangerous or violent conditions:

(1) Engaging in a fistic encounter; or
(2) Using profane or threatening language or making obscene remarks, gestures, or indecent proposals to or toward another which in the manner uttered has a tendency to incite an ordinary addressee to violent retaliatory action and a breach of the peace; or
(3) Appearing in an intoxicated condition; or
(4) Engaging in any act in a violent and tumultuous manner by any three (3) or more persons; or
(5) Holding of an unlawful assembly; or (6) Interruption of any lawful assembly of people.

         Disturbing the peace shall also include the commission of any act other than that permitted as an exercise of free speech or free assembly guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and the State of Louisiana, in such a manner as to disturb or alarm the public, or make such a disturbance imminent, or to provoke another or other to retaliatory action or violence. (Code 1958,' 10-27; Ord. No. 7087, 9-11-79).

         On July 15, 2017, Roy and others were present in the area of north Third Street, between Pine and Olive Street. There were three commercial establishments in that area: Corner Bar; Club Neat; and Live Oaks Ballroom and Lounge.

         The Corner Bar is known as a gathering spot for homosexuals. Roy believes that homosexuality is a sin. [Doc. No. 23-3, Exh. 3, Roy Depo., p. 22, ll. 1-6]. He preaches against homosexuality, as well as drinking alcohol, and other topics. Id. at ll. 13-14. Roy and others with him were engaged in expressive activity by speaking about religious, political, and social issues while on the City's sidewalks. At various times, Roy was carrying a cross while on the public sidewalk.

         While Roy and others were in this area, the Monroe Police Department received a complaint about a disturbance in the area of north Third Street between Pine and Olive Streets. The complaint was related to an alleged incident between the owner of the Corner Bar and one of the people with Roy.

         Several Monroe Police Department officers responded to the complaint. After more than four Monroe Police Department officers had already arrived, Sergeant Booth arrived at the scene of the complaint. Sergeant Booth parked his patrol ...


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