Feiner v. New York

340 U.S. 315 (1951)


Feiner (D) addressed a street meeting, and attracted a crowd of about eighty people. There were both whites and blacks in the crowd that gathered. D made sure everyone from politicians, Truman, and the city mayor as well as the American Legion suffered his wrath. D also told the blacks present to rise up in arms and fight the whites for equal rights. The crowd was polarized in their feelings. There was shoving, muttering, threats and an explosive atmosphere. In response to a complaint about the meeting, two police officers arrived. They initially did nothing other than to make sure that the crowd did not block traffic. D made remarks that stirred up the crowd even more. One person commented on the police's inability to control the crowd, and another threatened violence if the police did not act. But this was after almost 30 minutes from the time the police arrived. The officers finally stepped in to prevent a fight and asked D to stop speaking. D ignored them and their repeated requests, and they arrested him for disorderly conduct. D was convicted because his speech was found to create an imminent danger of disorder. D appealed.