ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Law officers accused of First Amendment violation in Bush visit
An appeals court on Tuesday effectively quashed a First Amendment lawsuit filed by citizens protesting Iraq War policies during a visit by then-President George W. Bush to the village of Los Ranchos in August 2007.
The protesters filed a lawsuit alleging they were unconstitutionally discriminated against based on their viewpoint – opposition to Bush’s policies – while Bush supporters got favorable treatment by being allowed to remain on prime, private property for their demonstration.
The District Court in 2011 had refused to dismiss the case against three law enforcement agents: U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Kerry Sheehan, Bernalillo County sheriff’s Lt. Matt Thomas and sheriff’s Sgt. Edward Mims. Sheehan was the site agent in charge of the president’s visit to the home of Los Ranchos Mayor Larry Abraham, who was hosting an event for Sen. Pete Domenici. The Sheriff’s Office was in charge of the outer perimeter security during the visit, with Thomas responsible for directing personnel and deciding where protesters would stand.