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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marijuana: Gary Wiegert's Free-Speech Lawsuit Goes Forward, Sgt. Hopes to Lobby for Reform

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Dotson writes in his letter to Wiegert that his application for "secondary employment could not be approved," because he has not produced a business license issued by the city. And he also says that Wiegert failed to include a "detailed explanation" of his duties in his application, beyond "lobbyist activities in Jefferson City."

"Please feel free to resubmit the application at any time," Dotson writes.

Police Chief Sam Dotson. - VIA FACEBOOK

Watkins, however, says, "They are completely ignoring the fact that they had already approved him."

Dotson's letter also asks for more specifics and references a section of the official police manual that states:

The Manual does not authorize a member of this Department to engage in any political activity while on duty for which compensation is being paid, or while in uniform that identifies him/her as a member of this Department.

Another section of the manual, Dotson points out, establishes the kinds of prohibited political activity. The letter seems to imply that if Wiegert does get his proper license and can argue that his lobbying work would not be a conflict-of-interest violation of SLMPD code, then he might stand a better chance.

Watkins says that Wiegert got his license immediately, but he argues that it's irrelevant anyway because his lobbyist activities would be in Jefferson City, not St. Louis. And in terms of Dotson's apparent invitation for Wiegert to "resubmit" an application, Watkins reiterates that it was previously approved and revoked and that the department has "created a fiction" by asserting they couldn't approve him.

Now, he's just moving forward with the lawsuit.

Watkins also released this statement in a news release announcing his latest court filing:

It appears that the oppressive actions of the white shirted authorities in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have brought more attention to the very issue they sought to suppress than it otherwise would have received had Sgt. Wiegert's First Amendment rights not been trampled. That being said, Sgt. Wiegert is a grizzled veteran of the Department who has no intention of permitting the very Constitutional rights he has taken an oath to uphold to be compromised.

Here's Dotson's letter in full.

Letter From Chief Dotson to Sgt. Wiegert

And here's Wiegert's response to the SLMPD motion to dismiss the case.

Response and Memo in Opp to Motion to Dismiss

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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