I am a disabled Marine veteran. I was protesting with a friend at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. We opposed the children’s rodeo and were peacefully and legally expressing our views on public property near the entrance to the fair. We oppose the rodeo due to concern about the treatment of the animals and because we believe that participating in these events teaches children to repress their natural sense of compassion and empathy for animals.
On the second day we were there, two teenage boys came out with a large 4H banner and began harassing me while standing in front of me. I am in a wheelchair and could not see over nor around their banner and the public could no longer see my sign. When I moved to a different position, the boys followed me and again blocked my view. I called the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to request that an officer clarify the legal bounds of our protest. Sgt. Brad Kunkel came over to talk to me as well as the boys.
Sgt. Kunkel was professional in explaining to them that I/we had a right to be there and that they needed to find a different place to stand.
Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that I defended as a Marine. I want to thank the staff from the sheriff’s office who were present while we were at the fair, especially Sgt. Kunkel. It’s their continued service that ensures our safety and constitutional freedoms in America.