During an Occupy protest on a rainy night last winter, Portland Police arrested Portlander Dan Kaufman and impounded his sparkly gold "disco trike," charging him with "unlawful operation of a sound-producing equipment" as he blasted music during the protest.
Today, a judge declared that the charges against Kaufman are worthless. Operating a disco trike at a protest is, she determined, a protected form of free speech.
While Portland has a sound ordinance that prohibits disrupting the peace by playing music too loudly or after certain hours, the judge ruled in favor of the disco trike here because the police sergeant who shut down the tunes was specifically trying to stop Kaufman's involvement in the protest, says Kaufman's lawyer Kate Stebbins.
"He had played music loudly on other days with no problem. The reason they shut him down on that day at that time was because that protest had gotten out of hand," says Stebbins. "This protest was late in the year. Police were tired. Protesters were tired. No one was on their best behavior. But this guy was just playing music, trying to keep everyone happy."