Denver is a tolerant, educated city, but its record in recent years of protecting free speech is about as dismal as can be because of the impunity with which self-appointed thought police are able to disrupt the local Columbus Day Parade. City attorney Cole Finegan's decision Monday to dismiss cases related to the disruption of last year's parade is merely the latest evidence of Denver's humiliating failure.
Not that we are pointing a finger at Finegan. His office tried its best to convict the anti-free speech protesters. Unfortunately, a succession of courtroom setbacks and last week's scandalous jury acquittal of protest leaders convinced him the effort was futile.
Finegan says his office will draft new ordinances to cover future disruptions, but the problem is bigger than poorly drafted law. So long as protesters find juries gullible enough to believe their absurd charge that the parade is a form of ethnic intimidation and so ignorant that they fail to see the link between Italian-Americans' right to free speech and their own, Denver officials will continue to have a hard time defending the First Amendment.
- Rocky Mountain News