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IRISH LESBIAN & GAY ORG. v. BRATTON

March 15, 1995

THE IRISH LESBIAN AND GAY ORGANIZATION, Plaintiff, against WILLIAM P. BRATTON, POLICE COMMISSIONER; THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT; THE CITY OF NEW YORK; and RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR, Defendants.

JOHN F. KEENAN, United States District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN F. KEENAN

JOHN P. KEENAN, United States District Judge:

 The Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization ("ILGO") seeks an injunction compelling the Police Commissioner and the City of New York to issue ILGO a parade permit to march from 42nd Street to 86th Street on 5th Avenue beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday March 17, 1995, St. Patrick's Day. The City has denied ILGO's application for a permit. ILGO maintains that this denial violates plaintiff's constitutional rights. This action was commenced in the New York State Supreme Court in New York County on February 23, 1995. Defendants removed the action to this Court on March 1, 1995. Plaintiff sought to remand the matter to state court. The remand application was heard by this Court on March 8, 1995 and denied. Jurisdiction rests in Federal Court inasmuch as this is a matter involving a federal constitutional issue. An evidentiary hearing was held before this Court on March 10, 1995 and final briefs were submitted on March 13, 1995.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 The St. Patrick's Day Parade (the "Parade") is an annual event which has been held in New York City for 234 years. See New York County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernian's (the "AOH") Brief, at 1. For over seventy years, the parade has been held on 5th Avenue. It starts north from 42nd Street at 11:00 a.m. on March 17th of each year. The AOH has applied for and received a Parade permit authorizing it to conduct the Parade on 5th Avenue again this year.

 For the six years since its formation in 1990, ILGO has sought, with generally unsatisfactory results from their point of view, to either march in the Parade or to have their own parade on the same day, on the same route, and at approximately the same time. ILGO's avowed purpose for its parade is to celebrate the Irish cultural heritage and homosexuality of its members. ILGO had applied for a permit to march on Fifth Avenue on March 17, 1995 immediately prior to the AOH parade. The Police Department denied ILGO the permit under the authority of section 10-110 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York. Section 10-110 reads in its entirety:

 § 10-110 Processions and parades.

 
a. Permits. A procession, parade, or race shall be permitted upon any street or in any public place only after a written permit therefore has been obtained from the police commissioner. Application for such permit shall be made in writing, upon a suitable form prescribed and furnished by the department, not less than thirty-six hours previous to the forming or marching of such procession, parade or race. The commissioner shall, after due investigation of such application, grant such permit subject to the following restrictions:
 
1. It shall be unlawful for the police commissioner to grant a permit where the commissioner has good reason to believe that the proposed procession, parade, or race will be disorderly in character or tend to disturb the public peace;
 
2. It shall be unlawful for the police commissioner to grant a permit for the use of any street or any public place, or material portion thereof, which is ordinarily subject to great congestion or traffic and is chiefly of a business or mercantile character, except, upon loyalty day, or upon those holidays or Sundays when places of business along the route proposed are closed, or on other days between the hours of sixthirty post meridien and nine ante meridien;
 
3. Each such permit shall designate specifically the route through which the procession, parade or race shall move, and it may also specify the width of the roadway to be used, and may include such rules and regulations as the police commissioner may deem necessary;
 
4. Special permits for occasions of extraordinary public interest, not annual or customary, or not so intended to be, may be granted by the commissioner for any street or public place, and for any day or hour, with the written approval of the mayor;
 
5. The chief officer of any procession, parade or race, for which a permit may be granted by the police commissioner, shall be responsible for the strict observance of all rules and regulations included in said permit.
 
b. Exemptions. This section shall not apply:
 
1. To the ordinary and necessary movements of the United States army, United States navy, national guard, police department and fire department; or
 
2. To such portion of any street as may have already been, or may hereafter be duly, set aside as a speedway; or
 
3. To processions or parades which have marched annually upon the streets for more than ten years, previous to July seventh, nineteen hundred fourteen.
 
c. Violations. Every person participating in any procession, parade or race, for which a permit has not been issued when required by this section, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars, or by imprisonment for not exceeding ten days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

 Louis R. Anemone, Chief of the Department of the New York City Police Department, is the highest ranking uniformed officer in the Department. Chief Anemone supplied an affidavit and testified at the hearing on this matter as to the Department's decision to deny the permit to ILGO. Ms. ...


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