How Steve Conrad and Cindy Shain kept Louis Coleman and the Klan from fighting [Opinion: The Arena]

The Ku Klux Klan

The Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction was denied by John G. Heyburn, II, Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, who later dismissed the case on a summary judgment motion from the City and County.

LPDpatch.jpgIn June of 1999, Federal Judges Krupansky, Boggs, and Clay, of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, affirmed Judge Heyburn’s rulings.  The Appeals Court found that the mandatory magnetometer searches did not violate First Amendment, the separation of the two groups of speakers did not violate their free association rights, the use of a buffer zone did not violate the First Amendment, and the disallowing of unscheduled oration within restricted area was valid content-neutral time, place, and manner regulation.  The Judges held that any Commerce Clause violation arising out of the emergency crowd control plan was de minimis.

Interestingly, the Appellate Court took the unusual step of commending the Shain/Conrad crowd control plan in their written opinion:

louisville_courthouse.jpg“Overall, the record evidence disclosed that the instant plaintiffs’ assertions that the faulted measures actualized by the KKK Rally Detail constituted ad hoc, unnecessary, oppressive, draconian, arbitrary, heavy-handed, alarmist, overreactive, and unbridled nefarious authoritarian ‘police state’ exercises of power were inapposite and ill founded. Much to the contrary, the Louisville police, in conjunction with other City and County authorities, should be commended for their conscientious effort to carefully formulate a highly prudent, circumspect, and well conceived emergency action plan calculated to address realistic concerns and threats of social disorder, personal injuries, property damage, and individual rights violations posed by the impending counter-demonstrations.”

The Court went on to describe the plan as “…an eminently rational and appropriate tool for the management of conflicting interests, both public and private, which accorded due weight to the preservation of community peace and safety within a milieu which remained maximally conducive, given the reasonably anticipated circumstances, to individual and collective exercises of constitutional rights.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire Court decision.


William Jonathan Grider, Lesa F. Watson vs. Jerry E. Abramson, E. Douglas Hamilton, The City of Louisville, David L. Armstrong, Ron Bishop,  Ron Ricucci, James Vaughn, 180 F.3d 739, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, No. 98–5282. Argued March 19, 1999; Decided and Filed June 18, 1999.

The Plaintiffs were represented by Samuel Manly, and the Defendants were represented by Paul V. Guagliardo, William C. Stone, Lynne A. Fleming, and Deborah A. Bilitski

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I appreciate and acknowledge the help received from friends Paul Guagliardo, Sam Manly, and Cindy Shain in the preparation of this article.  Interestingly, Cindy had this to say in her email:  “I am currently in Abu Dhabi getting ready to present at the Emirates Women's Police Association Conference which will be conducted at the Emirates Palace here in the UAE.  I am just glad that I finally got online and got your email.  Hope it meets your deadline.  Let me know when it goes out!  Thanks for the article.  It was a proud moment, I think, for our community.  Everyone was able to have their say and there was no violence, as had been experienced by many other cities.” 

-------------'s The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).  The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America. Photo credits:  LMPD, U.S. District Court (W.D.Ky.), WikiMedia.


About Thomas McAdam
At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.
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