Locals sue Kentucky governor over protests at Frankfort capitol

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CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – A Boone County man is one of several plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear over his ban of mass gatherings and its possible implications for political rallies and protests.

Tony Ramsek of Petersburg is named in the suit against the Beshear administration, which claims the ban and Beshear’s subsequent statements about previous protests equate to a threat against free speech and the right to assemble.

“The pandemic crisis does not put the constitution and the rights protected by it on pause,” Ramsek told Local 12. “If the Constitution was simply giving us permission during times of wellness … Then they’re not rights.”

Officials with Beshear’s office did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Protesters held a rally over Beshear’s policies on May 2 in Frankfort, an event that included several elected officials from around the state.

There were no incidents then, but when asked if he would call out police to enforce his order the next time, Beshear said, “we’ll see.”

“Again, I’m not one to spend too much time on a protest that while you describe it as large that number of people, many of them coming from out of state. (Some) are always going to disagree with something you do,” Beshear said during his press conference the day after the protests.

Beshear’s previous policies on banning travel out of state and in-person church services have already been struck down by federal courts, including by a federal appeals court earlier this week.

“When the governor banned mass gatherings, he made no exceptions for faith-based activities and he made no exceptions for political protests,” said Crestview Hills-based lawyer Tom Bruns, who is one of the lawyers filing the suit. “And yet those are actually rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.”

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