Crime, Justice and Public Safety
Tue August 5, 2014
No Proselytizing at State Fair Gates
Jason Powell will not be proselytizing near entrances to the Iowa State Fair this year. The U.S. District Court in Des Moines ruled in an injunction Tuesday, that fair officials can bar Powell from areas of heavy foot and vehicle traffic for public safety purposes.
The injunction's ruling does allow Powell to demonstrate on fair grounds in less populated areas, but his attorney Nate Kellum of the Memphis-based Center for Religious Expression says this is an empty victory.
"The whole idea of Mr. Powell's message is to reach people...So being sent off in some remote area, where no one is located is no relief for Mr. Powell."
Powell was ejected from the 2013 Iowa State Fair by a state trooper and who threatened him with arrest. Fair officials say Powell created a public safety hazard and violated state fair rules by impeding traffic and carrying as sign attached to a pole. Poles and sticks are not allowed at the state fair because they can be used as weapons.
Powell says the no one informed him of any rules against carrying a pole. Nor did anyone explain that he was causing foot or vehicle congestion. Therefore, he believes his ejection was due prejudice against his religious beliefs.