Liberty Place sues group over anti-white, gay rants

Judge rules sidewalk adjacent to shops is private property

by Frank Kummer and Emily Babay, PHILLY.COM, Posted: May 23, 2013

A religious group spewing what the owners of One Liberty Place call hate speech against women, whites and gays can no longer demonstrate immediately outside the building’s entrance at 16th and Chestnut Streets, a judge ruled today.

The owners of One Liberty Place in Center City Philadelphia filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge. The group is frequently seen perched on Center City street corners shouting at passersby through bullhorns. Liberty Place Retail Associates, which owns the building, has asked the state court to bar the group from gathering in front of the entrance to its 61-story tower at 16th and Chestnut Streets.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler ruled this morning that the sidewalk area adjacent to One Liberty Place, where the group had been gathering, is private property.

She said the group could gather in the public sidewalk space that is not immediately next to the building, so long as it did not impede pedestrian access. If the Israelite group wants to set up a large stage or use a megaphone, it will need to get a permit from the city managing director’s office….

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