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Public Statements

Issue Position: Law Enforcement/Safety Force Rulings

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Bellecourt v. Cleveland: Justice O'Connor upheld the actions of Cleveland police in this case involving the burning of a Chief Wahoo effigy at Jacobs Field. Police arrested several people, who in protesting Chief Wahoo, lit an effigy on fire in a cordoned-off section of Jacobs Field. Justice O'Connor stated that the police arrested the protesters due to the public safety threat. Thus, the city's interest in preserving public safety did not infringe on the protesters' First Amendment rights.

State ex rel. Fisher v. Cleveland: The Cleveland firefighters brought this action as a result of the city's efforts to enforce its residency requirements. Cleveland required those firefighters who were the subject of residency investigations to submit copies of their income tax returns. Justice O'Connor, writing for a unanimous court, declared that the city's policy was an invasion of the firefighters' right to privacy and prohibited the city from continuing it.

Assn. of Cleveland Firefighters v. Cleveland: In this case involving the Cleveland firefighters union, Justice O'Connor wrote that the city's practice of "arrowing" (defined as temporarily rescheduling shifts that changes the ordinary 48 hours firefighters get off between shifts) violated the express terms of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Justice O'Connor reached this conclusion because the firefighters never agreed to the practice.


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