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Police Warn Woman Not to Wear Costume as Protest

Emergency lights on a police car flashing

Photo: Getty Images

A woman in South Florida says she was warned by a local police officer not to wear a Halloween costume that is designed like a condo building project that she and others oppose since it would be considered a protest for which she would need a permit.

According to Yakima Herald, Cat Uden said that the officer told her that if she wore the costume to the city of Hollywood's Hollyweird block party, it would be considered a planned protest. She had been a leading critic of a developer's plan to build a 30-story condo on taxpayer-owned beachfront land. The land is currently home to a park with a community center.

Uden went on Facebook and urged other opponents of the development to wear a costume like hers, designed like a condo building or to bring signs that read "No Condo" tot he Halloween block party. A few days after she posted the message on Facebook, she got a call from the police lieutenant.

"I told him it's a costume party. I don't consider it a demonstration and that's why I didn't apply for a permit." said Uden.

According to police spokeswoman, Deanna Bettineschi said that Uden needs a permit to hold a "planned protest march." If she attends the event and leads an organized demonstration, Uden will be given a warning and asked to leave. After a warning, the penalty could include arrest with a fine up to $500 or 60 days in jail.

Bob Jarvis, a constitutional law professor says Uden is protected by the First Amendment, and police are on shaky ground.

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