Are permits required for protests / free speech gatherings in the Town of Parker?
Generally speaking, most forms of speech or expression are constitutionally protected in traditional "public forums" such as streets, sidewalks and parks.
Private property owners or those with authority over private property generally have the ability to control speech activities on their own property and can request the assistance of law enforcement to seek removal of individuals from their property or to have an individual served with a notice of trespass or criminal citation.
As free speech in a public forum is generally a right, permits are not usually required. However, certain rules apply and there may be circumstances where an event organizer is required to obtain a permit for what would be considered a protected speech activity.
If a march, protest, or similar type of event does not stay on public sidewalks, public trails, or in a public park, a permit may be required. Permits will be required for any activity that includes a plan to march on or access to any Town roadway, other than at a designated crossing area. Any activity that will impede traffic or require street closures will generally require a permit. First Amendment events that are seeking to occur on the same date and time as another event, whether a First Amendment event or not, shall require a permit and those generally will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. If another permit has been issued, regardless of any individual’s or group’s First Amendment rights, a permit can and may be denied.
Events that intend to use sound amplifying devices shall require communication with the Town Attorney’s office, and may require permits depending on the amplification devices being used and the location of any speakers.
The Town and the Parker Police Department may impose traffic control and public safety requirements for an event regardless of any permit requirements.
Any marchers, protesters, or similar event attendees, must ensure not to obstruct pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle traffic, and must ensure ADA access for any individuals who require the same. No individuals attending events may obstruct the entrances or exits to any buildings, residences, business, or similar locations. All event attendees must obey traffic and pedestrian signals, unless a permit has been granted and the Town has authorized exceptions.
If a law enforcement officer requests an event attendee to move their location to allow for the safe passage of other pedestrians, bicycles or vehicles, an attendee must comply.
The Town may require a permit for events known to be over a certain size, depending on the location.
Events may not interfere with the ordinary use of a space. For example, at public parks, if there is a sporting activity being conducted, or families present for recreational purposes, events may not interfere with those individuals’ rights.
Any individual planning a free speech event must contact the Town or complete the online inquiry form for follow up contact, regardless of the content or purpose of their activity. Such contact should occur at least 48 business hours prior to the event.
For questions or concerns about physical distancing or social gathering please contact the Tri County Health Department or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Violence, property damage, threatening speech, or similar illegal conduct will not be tolerated.