U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin approved a stipulation between the City and Joshua Long, better known as the “Weed Man.” Mr. Long, who has become a fixture in Times Square, known for the sign he carries: “Help! I Need Money for Weed!” filed a lawsuit in July claiming violations of his constitutional rights by NYPD officers. The complaint contends that both Mr. Long’s sign and the act of asking for money are constitutionally protected free speech. Nevertheless, he has been continually harassed by police officers and subjected to a slew of unlawful arrests. Though the recent stipulation does not resolve the case and does not include an admission of the defendants’ liability, the City agrees that it will make its best efforts to ensure that midtown police officers will not disturb Mr. Long, so long as he is standing lawfully and peacefully on a public sidewalk. The City also commits to ensuring that all NYPD officers who work in Times Square are aware of the substance of the Court-ordered stipulation. Mr. Long is represented by Matthew D. Brinckerhoff and Sam Shapiro of ECBA.
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