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Community plans rally against hate in response to banner on Templeton overpass

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Posted at 6:04 PM, May 03, 2023

The community is coming together to protest what some are calling offensive and hateful speech in Templeton.

Several people have contacted KSBY News in recent days, concerned about a banner that was seen on the Vineyard Drive overpass and questioning its legality.

The banner, held up by two people, read “embrace white pride.”

While some of those who saw it described it as "cringey" and "offensive," the California Highway Patrol and legal experts say those displaying the sign are not in violation of the law.

“Nothing yet that they’re doing is illegal. Everything they’re doing is protected by freedom of speech," explained Patrick Seebart, California Highway Patrol Templeton Area Office Public Information Officer.

“In my opinion, it may be hate speech. I don’t dispute that, but you are allowed to express hate speech under the First Amendment,” said local attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu.

Funke-Bilu says the message on the banner is protected by the First Amendment and would not be considered a hate crime.

“A local agency would be hard-pressed to prosecute people for exercising their First Amendment rights,” he said.

“Where they’re at, they’re allowed to be. The signage that they hold is within regulations and laws that are allowed,” Seebart said.

Because the sign is being held and is not affixed to the overpass,it is not considered to be in violation of the law.

“Everything we have seen, they’re holding the signs. Nothing is affixed to the bridges,” Seebart added.

If anything is secured to the overpass it would then fall under the jurisdiction of Caltrans which would then have the authority to remove the signage.

According to a Facebook event page, a rally against hate will be held on the Vineyard Drive overpass in Templeton on May 10, from 2-6 p.m.