Two motorcycle club members' Disorderly Conduct cases were set for trial today in San Antonio municipal court. They were charged with Disorderly Conduct for wearing motorcycle club patches. The cases were dismissed this morning. Their lawyer was disappointed. Someone needed to explain the First Amendment to the officer that issued the citation.
The complaint against these men indicated that they committed a crime by wearing their motorcycle club patches as follows: “defendant…intentionally or knowingly made an offensive display by wearing of gang colors or paraphernalia, in a public place and the said display tended to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”
There is a lot wrong with this charge, but to name just a few issues: 1) they have a right to associate with whatever group they please, 2) they have a right to express their affiliation through clothing, and 3) to criminalize mere words, those words must be "fighting words," or words that are likely to cause the person on the receiving end to want to beat up the speaker. MC patches aren't "fighting words."
Thank You Millie