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APEX returns to Centennial Circle; City officials remain silent
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APEX returns to Centennial Circle; City officials remain silent

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GLENS FALLS — Common Council members were silent Monday as a small cluster of people belonging to the group suing the city over a local ordinance gathered less than a week after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in the case.

Just a dozen or so members of American Patriots Express, or APEX, were spotted at Centennial Circle waving American flags and banners that read “Trump 2020” at around 5 p.m.

The rally was small, but its timing was significant.

A judge last week granted the group a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit pertaining to City Code Section 87, a law requiring a permit for any large demonstrations, or “pre-planned gatherings” of 25 or more people.

The injunction prevents the city from enforcing all aspects of the law regarding the permitting process, and delivered a significant blow to the city’s argument early on.

A week prior, the city moved to dismiss the lawsuit using essentially the same argument it did to block the injunction. The city withdrew its motion to dismiss the case Friday.

It’s unclear what the city plans to do next.

An attorney representing the city did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday, nor did half of the city’s Common Council members. Mayor Dan Hall, Police Chief Anthony Lydon and City Clerk Robert Curtis are also listed as defendants in the case.

Jim Campinell of the First Ward; Diana Palmer of the Third Ward; and Councilwoman-At-Large Jane Reid declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

“We have been given very clear instructions by our counsel that we are not to discuss this matter with anyone,” Reid said.

But Bill Collins of the Second Ward said the council will likely take the court’s decision into account at some point, though he said discussions have yet to take place.

“We’ll listen to what the court has to say,” he said.

The Common Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Nothing pertaining to the lawsuit is on the agenda, but it’s possible the case will be brought up during the meeting’s public comment period or portion pertaining to new business.

Meanwhile, at the rally, APEX members peacefully waved flags and cheered as dozens of drivers honked their horn in support of the group.

Some members, including Dawn Sumner, said the city should repeal Section 87 all together and cut its losses.

“I think they should pull it back, and I think they should step away from it,” Sumner, a Glens Falls resident, said.

She accused the city of trying to suppress conservative voices and said those who raised concerns regarding the First Amendment were ignored.

“We shouldn’t be held or bound by having to go get a permit if you want to go out,” Sumner said.

The group’s co-founders, David Vanscoy and Florence Sherman, declined a request to comment citing the ongoing litigation.

The pair, as well as an unnamed 17-year-old woman from Warren County, are listed as plaintiffs in the case.

Collins, meanwhile, said any accusation of the council trying to suppress anyone couldn’t be farther from the truth.

“This case was not political for us at all,” he said. “It was about safety.”

Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.

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The lawsuit, which names city Mayor Dan Hall, Glens Falls Police Chief Anthony Lydon and City Clerk Robert Curtis as defendants, was filed Tuesday in U.S. Northern District Court in Albany and alleges City Code Section 87 violates the First Amendment "on a number of grounds."

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