Media Contact

February 23, 2024

GREENVILLE, Miss - On Thursday, February 29, 2024, trial will begin in Rash v. Lafayette County, a case challenging a Lafayette County, Mississippi, permitting policy on First Amendment grounds.

In July 2020, the ACLU of Mississippi and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a lawsuit against Lafayette County, Mississippi, on behalf of John Rash, a documentary filmmaker, photographer, visual artist, and educator based in Oxford. The lawsuit seeks to vindicate Mr. Rash’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and to invalidate Lafayette County’s unconstitutional policies that govern the use of the Lafayette County Courthouse grounds. The Lafayette County Courthouse grounds, which contain a confederate monument, are the centerpiece of the Oxford town square and have acted as a community gathering point for many years. They are the quintessential public forum, and Lafayette County’s restrictions on them prevent Oxford and Lafayette County residents and others from exercising their First Amendment rights there. 

Mr. Rash sought to hold a community art event that would project images onto the walls of the Courthouse. Lafayette County denied his permit after enacting a curfew closing the grounds entirely from 30 minutes before dusk till dawn. The County also required groups of five or more people to apply for a permit 14 days in advance as well as comply with other unreasonable restrictions on the use of the Courthouse grounds. The County enacted many of these restrictions during the summer of 2020 as protests erupted across the country including in Oxford and Lafayette County after the murder of George Floyd. 

  • Trial in Rash v. Lafayette County
    • Date and Time:
      • February 29, 2024 at 9:45 a.m. CST 
      • March 1, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. CST
      • March 5, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. CST
      • March 7, 2024 (if necessary) at 9:00 a.m. CST
    • Address
      • Federal Building, United States Post Office and Courthouse
      • 305 Main St. Greenville, MS 38701
    • Resources: Case Summary