Mayor Frank Jackson vetoes proposed unruly flash mob ordinance

CLEVELAND - A hand delivered message was sent on Thursday from Mayor Frank Jackson to Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney, vetoing a proposed ordinance that would have made it illegal to use social media and flash mobs to disrupt or cause chaos at an event.

Numerous legal and policy concerns were expressed regarding the proposed criminal ordinance, which was the main reason Jackson put an end to the discussion.

"I am sympathetic with the goal of the Council to identify appropriate tools to deal with the increasing occurrence of unlawful mob activity fueled by the proliferation of cell phone use and other technology to communicate quickly with large numbers of people," said Mayor Jackson in the veto letter. "However, like any criminal prohibition, the law needs to be narrowly tailored to combat the illegal activity, be an effective deterrent to wrongdoers, and not unduly interfere with the rights of law-abiding citizens."

Mayor Jackson also didn't approve of council members introducing and passing the issue on one reading without any public committee hearings or any input from the public at all.

Had the ordinance become law, it would have meant a minor misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second and up to $500 for a third.

Council members said the goal was never to target all flash mobs, only those which were intending to cause problems.

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