Coordinator, Vendors Upset Over Festival's Early Closure
Posted: Jun 17, 2013 8:55 PM EST Updated: Jun 17, 2013 8:55 PM EST
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An attorney who represents the Juneteenth Festival's coordinator says his client was forced to shut down the festival by police.
The festival has been held at Franklin Park for 18 years, but when shots were fired Saturday night, striking an 11-year-old boy, Columbus police officers shut down the festival.
Attorney Derek Farmer says his client was not consulted by officers into finding alternatives and that his client's constitutional rights were violated.
"The police ordered him to do it, and that is why we have a problem with that. When you trample on the constitutional rights of American citizens, who paid their money and had a permit to organize, assemble, to give free speech," said Farmer.
Farmer says the closure of the event was unwarranted and that other events in the City of Columbus have had similar situations occur.
"You can't say the shooting caused it to close down, because there have been other shootings at other events in Columbus, Ohio, and they didn't close down. We think it was other reasons, but we don't know," said Farmer.
Many vendors at the festival say they barely broke even for the weekend.
"What I'm am surprised about is not hearing from the coordinator of what he would do for the vendors since we weren't able to come back out on Sunday," said Crystal Coleman, a vendor at the festival.
Coleman says several vendors had said they would not return to the festival on Sunday even if police had permitted it to reopen.