North Augusta, SC (WJBF)— Controversial flyers posted in a local neighborhood provoked one man to call law enforcement. The message and graphic images were directed at a doctor who the flyer claims performs abortions. However, officers tell NewsChannel 6 no crime was committed and this action is protected by freedom of speech.
Someone posted the flyers in the River Club neighborhood in North Augusta. We talked to a neighbor who says he was concerned the images would upset people so he reported them to North Augusta Public Safety.
“We live in a really nice community down by the river. People come here to exercise. It’s just sort of a shame that people are forced to see that,” he says.
The pictures on the flyer are too graphic for us to post on our website; however, the neighbor describes what he saw tacked to a lamp post and tree outside his house.
“A picture of a deceased fetus that was covered in blood and it was just incredibly graphic and frankly disturbing.”
The top of the flyer reads “There’s a killer among you.” It also includes a picture, home address and business address for a man who the flyer claims performs abortions locally. The author encourages people to send him letters asking him to stop. The River Club neighbor we spoke to explains why he called police.
“I’m sure the last thing a parent would want is for their children to see something like that, that’s just really disturbing. Also, women who might have had some kind of miscarriage or maybe they’ve had an abortion and it’s just, that’s a very sensitive issue and that’s who I felt for when I saw that.”
North Augusta Public Safety says they saw the signs. They looked into the situation and found no laws were broken.
We asked a lawyer if this could fall under a civil suit for defamation. He said, it could; however, it would be difficult to fight and expensive because of strong laws to protect freedom of speech.
This North Augusta man supports free speech, but thinks this was not the right way to go about it.
“There’s a better place to do that. Doing this on some residential street in the middle of North Augusta, South Carolina isn’t going to solve anything. Go to your State Government. If you feel passionate about it, you should lobby for change there,” he encourages.”
The signs were not against the law. They do seem to breach the River Club Homeowner’s Associations rules. The bylaws read—“No noxious or offensive activity shall be carried on upon any Lot nor shall anything be done thereon tending to cause embarrassment, discomfort, danger, annoyance or nuisance to any community residents.”
Someone has taken the flyers down.