Woman arrested for holding sign with profanity at protest

Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) -After the incident caught on camera Wednesday, a protestor showed up on Thursday with a sign that had a curse word on it. That is not allowed under Georgia law.

A video shared with us by a viewer who wanted to remain anonymous shows the moment sheriff deputies approach a woman who had been holding a sign with profane language.

Protestors in Downtown Valdosta.
Protestors in Downtown Valdosta.(WALB)

That sign involved the names of Sheriff Ashley Paulk and President Donald Trump.

Jackie Johnson, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, was at the protest on Thursday and saw the incident happen.

“They walked towards where the patrol cars were. And took her purse and went through her purse. And told her she was being arrested for disorderly conduct for holding a sign that said the D-word,” said Johnson.

The woman in the video is Sydney Cailtin Smith, Sheriff Paulk confirmed. She was charged with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Under Georgia law, the use of obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of those 14 years or under is not permitted. Anyone who commits this offense can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Smith already bonded out. One of the protest organizers created a Gofundme page to help raise money for legal fees.

They have raised over $1,000.

Protestors have mixed feelings about this law and they tell me they feel it’s against their right for freedom is speech.

“I feel like it’s freedom of speech, you can say what you want to say,” said Johnson.

“I believe the first amendment says freedom of speech so she should be able to express that however she wants to,” said Kenyon Brown.

This group of protestors has been here since Monday. And from what I’ve seen the past few days, more and more people are joining in.

Brown is one of them joining for the first time. She tells me she’s seen a lot of support from those passing by. She is also planning to march on Saturday with the group.

“I’m black, these are my people. I’m fighting for my people, not just my people but the people fighting for me,” said Brown.

That March is taking place Saturday at 6 p.m. and will begin at the MLK Memorial on MLK Drive.

Protestors in Downtown Valdosta.
Protestors in Downtown Valdosta.(WALB)

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