The distribution of flyers or other material designed to harass or intimidate another person or group is now illegal in the city of Brookhaven.
The Brookhaven City Council voted Tuesday night to amend the city code, declaring overnight canvassing and the unauthorized projection of images a crime. The move comes after antisemitic flyers were distributed in several neighborhoods last month and transphobic flyers distributed in other metro neighborhoods earlier this year.
Brookhaven City Attorney Jeremy Berry presented the ordinance, which was sponsored by Councilmembers Linley Jones and Madeleine Simmons.
In a proactive step, the ordinance includes the projection of images and messages onto buildings without the owner’s consent. Antisemitic messages have been projected on college campuses and other locations around the country.
Along with the projection ban, the ordinance limits distribution of materials between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Delivery from a subscription service, like newspapers or deliveries, is excluded.
The ordinance states: “A person who violates this section by displaying or projecting an image that contains a credible threat with malicious intent to harass, threaten, or intimidate another person or group… commits a felony of the third degree.” (Scroll to page 38 in the document below to see the ordinance in full.)
“We want to make sure that person projecting [an image] has the consent of the homeowner just to make sure that nothing’s projected that would cause the homeowner to feel unsafe in any manner,” said Berry.
The fine for canvassing is between $100 and $250. If the intent of a projected image contains a credible threat with intent to harass, threaten or intimidate another person, the act could be a felony.
The city signed into law a non-discrimination ordinance in 2020, protecting those who work or live in Brookhaven from all forms of discrimination including age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more. The NDO states, “It is important for the city to ensure that all persons within the city have equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations.”
“What we’re trying to do here, mayor and council, is to provide for the protection and safety of the residents of Brookhaven and limiting the hours when people can place materials or solicit door to door in the city,” Berry said.