Man Cited For Warning People Of Police Checkpoint.

Sobriety-Checkpoint-ROHParma, Ohio resident Doug Odolecki doesn’t like the police. He claims the animosity stems from being hassled by the police over the years.

To keep others from encountering the police, Odolecki has made it his mission in life to warn other drivers of police sobriety / driver’s license checkpoints. Last Friday night, Odolecki was standing on the sidewalk in Parma with a sign saying “Check point ahead turn now” alerting drivers to a checkpoint less than a mile away.

For some reason, the police in Parma were unhappy with Odolecki’s sign and ordered him to stop displaying it. Specifically, it seems they had an issue with language of “turn now.”

Parma police spokesman Kevin Riley said officers cited Odolecki after he refused to remove the “Turn now!” portion of the sign. Officers had previously consulted with city attorneys to determine if Odolecki violated any laws by displaying the sign, Riley said.

Odolecki plans to fight the citation for obstructing official business.

We have previously written about police in Florida citing drivers for flashing their lights to warn drivers of police. A judge ruled that the drivers’ actions could not be taken to be contrary to any state law and the police did not have the right to issue the citations.

We hope the same thing happens in Parma.

The issue, of course, is whether Odolecki’s sign was actually obstructing the police or whether his sign was free speech.

There are two reasons we believe the sign is free speech. First, Odolecki is not anywhere close to the actual checkpoint. It is difficult if not impossible to state that his sign was doing anything to make the actions of the police more difficult.

Secondly, and maybe most importantly, Ohio law requires the police to post where checkpoints are going to be as well as the hours of operation of that checkpoint. We cannot imagine a scenario where the police have to give out information to the public and a citizen repeating that information as being against the law.

At least Odolecki has legal representation:

Odolecki has an attorney who’s working for free.

“He’s not in the street. He’s not doing anything at all to physically interfere or impair the police ability to conduct their checkpoint at the checkpoint site. It’s absolutely free speech under the first amendment,” said Attorney John Gold.

ActionNews Channel 19 out of Cleveland has more on this story:

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