Florida town fines protesters for megaphone use

New Port Richey enacted a noise ordinance in 2017 to crack down on noisy bars and clubs

More than a dozen people in one Florida town have been fined for using megaphones during racial justice protests in violation of a local noise ordinance. 

Officials in New Port Richey have issued 14 citations to at least five protesters totaling around $4,700, according to The AssociatedPress. 

“The point of protesting is so people can hear you and we can bring issues to people,” Christina Boneta told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s supposed to be loud.”

Boneta was fined $2,573 but said she was not warned before the citations were issued. 

New Port Richey enacted a noise ordinance in 2017 to crack down on noisy bars and clubs. Between July and November, the megaphone noise complaints were initiated by police officers, not residents, the newspaper found. 

Protesters, however, said the citations are meant to discourage demonstrations. 

Boneta was arrested on Aug. 28 after refusing to sign a fifth noise citation and questioned officers about why they never warned her. 

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“We might be annoying, yelling and chanting, but we don’t block traffic or take the streets or litter,” Boneta said. “We just literally chant and try to get our message across.”

The protesters have stopped using megaphones, but they still gather once or twice a week to spread a message of racial justice. Police and city officials declined to comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.revenuenetworkcpm.com/suxp85rw?key=53d3779b7a34905bb0164bc138cf9e3e