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The Right to Possess Iced Tea, Bug Spray, and Razor Blades

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In August of 2018, John Miska was arrested in Charlottesville, Virginia for engaging in civil disobedience. In particular, Miska had bought bug spray, a razor blade, and cans of iced tea in defiance of the city government’s imposing of restrictions on possessing such common items. The purported reason for the restrictions was that a year earlier there was violence between protesting groups in the city.

The next month, there was good news for Miska and liberty — a local trial court dismissed the prosecution of Miska.

On Wednesday, the Rutherford Institute, which had defended Miska in his criminal prosecution and represented him in a lawsuit against the city, provided more good news. Charlottesville has agreed to settle Miska’s lawsuit against the city on terms that include Charlottesville officials agreeing “to change the law to only prohibit ordinary items, such as bottles and metal cans, from being used as weapons at a demonstration,” instead of the city maintaining the power to ban possessing them.


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