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AR capital rejects ban on ‘violent’ concerts

Little Rock will not bar "performers that promote or incite violence" from the city after councillors ruled it would violate the first-amendment right to free speech

By IQ on 12 Jul 2017

Finese 2Tymes, Little Rock, Arkansas, shooting

image © DJ Quinn Raynor

County councillors in Pulaski County – the Arkansas county that incorporates the state capital, Little Rock – have voted against a ban on concerts “that promote or incite violence”, proposed in the wake of the shootings at a rap show in the city earlier this month.

Twenty-five people were injured after shots were fired at a concert by rapper Finese 2Tymes (pictured) at the Power Ultra Lounge nightclub on 1 July. According to the Associated Press, the show was promoted with a poster “depicting a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at the camera”.

In a statement, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said the city’s “crime problem appears to be intensifying”, with a “high-profile shooting” dominating the news “every few days”. He also spoke of the need to “address the continued threat of violence in our community”.

A resolution proposed by Judy Green, a justice of the peace (magistrate) for Palaski County’s quorum court (roughly equivalent to a county council or commission), in the aftermath of the shooting would, if passed, have placed a 180-day moratorium “on all concerts and performers that promote or incite violence”.

“I knew it wasn’t going to pass, but I got your attention”

However, the proposal found “little support” at a quorum court meeting yesterday evening, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with councillors and members of the community concluding any ban would violate the right to freedom of speech and expression, as enshrined in the US constitution.

Green said she knew the resolution “wasn’t going to pass”, but that she “got your attention, especially the media” and hoped the bill will lead to a wider discussion around gun violence.

Little Rock’s magistrates instead approved an amended resolution urging the county’s cities to promote “civil discourse”.


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