Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the agency that employs the person accused in Will Powers' claim. The employee works for the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department.
A San Luis Obispo man is seeking $5 million from the city, alleging he was assaulted by a city employee and his freedom of speech was violated.
Will Powers, who is known for his loud bullhorn and picketing outside Costco’s gas station because of its prices, claims an employee of the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department approached him in a threatening manner and attempted to stifle his protest.
His claim — which only represents one side of the story — was filed with the city in July. In it, Powers alleges that the employee drove a pickup toward him, stopped within eight inches of his bullhorn and told him to “get out of the way.”
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Powers continued talking into his bullhorn before the driver grabbed it and shoved it toward him, coming within three inches of hitting his face, he said in the claim.
Powers claims it was an attempt to stop his freedom of speech.
The city investigated the allegations and concluded that the city employee was “concerned for Mr. Powers’ safety and suggested Mr. Powers move back to an area out of the path of oncoming traffic.”
Powers justified seeking $5 million in the claim by saying that he wanted the city to see consequences of employees attempting to violate the right of free speech and civil rights.
The claim has been submitted to a third-party claims administrator for investigation.