The white-supremacist group World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) is threatening a lawsuit against the Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library for denying the December 14 meeting-room reservation made for an appearance by group leader Matt Hale. “This particular group has visited other libraries throughout the country. There are usually situations of the police having to be involved, of violence,” BCL Director James H. Fish explained.
“It’s purely political, purely political,” Virginia WCOTC leader John King retorted in the November 26 Baltimore Sun. However, University of Maryland School of Law professor David S. Bogen told the Sun that while a library “can’t exclude [meetings] on the basis of viewpoint, it may be able to exclude on the basis of the problems [a meeting] may cause to the library operation.” Recent appearances by Hale’s group at several library venues in Virginia have triggered protests by civil rights activists and the expenditure of thousands of dollars on law enforcement to maintain the peace.
According to Fish, officials refused WCOTC’s request November 25 after seeking legal counsel regarding BCL’s policy reserving the library’s right to refuse a meeting-room reservation “upon adequate notice and for adequate reasons.” Nonetheless, Hale wrote Fish, “We have never lost a battle such as this” and advised that the director “contact your attorneys and have them research our victories.”
Posted December 2, 2002.