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Anti-abortion advocate sues Ann Arbor, police chief (Detroit Free Press)

Published April 24, 2013, by Detroit Free Press.

By Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer.

Published: 04.24.13| Updated: 04.24.13

A man is alleging in a federal lawsuit that the city of Ann Arbor and its police chief, John Seto , have violated his Constitutional rights related to the anti-abortion message he is trying to spread using his vehicle.

Paul Dobrowolski displays signs with phrases such as “Abortion hurts women” in the window of a car he parks outside of the Planned Parenthood facility on Professional Drive.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday on Dobrowolski’s behalf by the American Freedom Law Center, says Dobrowolski had a hearing after being ticketed for the second time last spring for violating a portion of the city code that prohibits parking a vehicle on a street for the principal purpose of displaying advertising. The court found that one of his signs, which gives the name, phone number and address of a facility that provides free ultrasounds, violated the city code, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit contends that all of Dobrowolski’s signs, including the free ultrasound sign, constitute political speech and are protected. Dobrowolski alleges that the defendants have violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments.

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said late Tuesday night that he doesn’t comment on pending litigation. He also said: “The city enforces the law.”

After Dobrowolski was ticketed on May 29, 2012 for violating the city code, he paid a $25 fine, according to the lawsuit. He was ticketed again June 4, 2012 and was ordered to pay another $25 fine at the hearing he had on the ticket.

Dobrowolski received notices on three different dates in May 2012 telling him he had 48 hours to move his vehicle or it would be considered abandoned and then impounded. The lawsuit says he complied each time and promptly moved his vehicle.

Dobrowolski has parked his car outside of the clinic for more than a year, according to the lawsuit. He also distributes anti-abortion literature and holds signs.

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