Does City’s Saying It “Will Not Provide Any Support or Resources” to Controversial Political Event on Private Property Implicitly Threaten Withdrawal of Police Protection?
From today’s Tenth Circuit opinion in VDARE Found. v. City of Colorado Springs, written by Judge Gregory Phillips and joined by Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich:
VDARE describes itself as a nonprofit organization that educates the public on two main issues: (1) the unsustainability of current U.S. immigration policy, and (2) the United States’ ability to survive as a nation-state. VDARE carries out its mission through its website, books, public-speaking engagements, conferences, debates, and media appearances. It alleges that though it seeks to “influence public debate and discussion on the issues of immigration and the future of the United States as a viable nation-state,” it has “never advocated violence or any form of illegality.”
Around March 2017, VDARE reserved the Cheyenne Mountain Resort … in Colorado Springs for a future conference … featuring guest speakers and activities related to its mission. VDARE alleges that the Resort knew of VDARE’s mission as well as the potential for media attention and possible protests that could arise from the Conference.
Over four months after VDARE booked the Conference, on August 12, 2017, violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia following a controversial political rally. The rally, protests, and ensuing violence drew national media attention. Two days later, on August 14, 2017, Mayor John Suthers, speaking on behalf of the City of Colorado Springs …, issued the following public statement:
The City of Colorado Springs does not have the authority to restrict freedom of speech, nor to direct private businesses like the Cheyenne Mountain Resort as to which events they may host. That said, I would encourage local businesses to be attentive to the types of events they accept and the groups that they invite to our great city.
The City of Colorado Springs will not provide any support or resources to this event, and does not condone hate speech in any fashion. The City remains steadfast in its commitment to the enforcement of Colorado law, which protects all individuals regardless of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation, harassment and physical harm.
The next day, August 15, 2017, the Resort issued a statement announcing that it would no longer be hosting the Conference and cancelled its contract with VDARE. In its Amended Complaint, VDARE doesn’t allege that the City had any direct involvement with the Resort’s decision to cancel the Conference. Nor does it allege what, if any, reasons the Resort provided when it informed VDARE that it was cancelling the Conference.
Rather, VDARE alleges that before the City’s Statement, the Resort had been actively communicating and coordinating with VDARE about logistics and safety in connection with the Conference. Further, it alleges that sometime after the Resort cancelled the Conference, Mayor Suthers “publicly expressed satisfaction that the Conference had been cancelled.” …
VDARE alleges that the City’s “announcement that [it] would not provide any municipal resources or support of any kind, including basic police, fire, ambula
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