SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The group Patriot Prayer could get its permit any time now for Saturday’s planned rally at Crissy Field.
Patriot Prayer says they should officially get their permit for Saturday’s Freedom Rally sometime on Tuesday. Organizers have publicly distanced themselves from neo-Nazis, the KKK and violence.
But Nancy Pelosi and other leaders have denounced the event as a planned “white supremacist” rally.
Terms like neo-Nazi, white supremacist, white nationalist, alt-right, alt-left, fascist, Marxist, are loaded terms that are being used daily.
Pelosi had an event in San Francisco Tuesday and KPIX 5 political reporter Melissa Caen asked her about the labels, and asked her to explain her choice of words.
Conservative speakers say their free speech is being lumped together with bigoted and racist speech.
But Pelosi said Crissy Field is a special place.
“And now they’re going to give it as a venue to Nazis and white nationalists,” Pelosi said.
We looked at the Patriot Prayer group. Some of them are Trump supporters, but does that make them extremists?
Not according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Patriot Prayer is not listed as a hate group, and it’s leader, Joey Gibson, is not listed as an extremist.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that at the most recent Patriot Prayer event, Gibson shouted from the stage “F*** white supremacists! F*** neo-Nazis!”
But in a press release, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the event planned at Crissy Field this Saturday as “a white supremacist rally.”
Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer said, “Like Nancy Pelosi, she feels like she has to oppose our group…so she lies and says it’s going to be a white supremacist rally even though there’s only one white speaker, you know, and so it’s frustrating.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center does point out that white supremacists have shown up to Patriot Prayer rallies before. And Patriot Prayer invited the often-armed, anti-government Oath Keepers to provide security on Saturday.
The Patriot Prayer Group says they are not white supremacists or Nazis, that they’re diverse, that people just show up.
We asked Pelosi, how can they be held accountable for that?
Pelosi said, “Well they’re accountable for it, and we’re going to hold them accountable for it.”
She went as far as to disagree with the National Park Service’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
Pelosi said, “Giving them the ability to cry wolf in a crowded theater. We’re all committed to our Constitution and freedom of speech, God knows, in San Francisco. But not to endanger people. So the Park Service has to balance their ability to protect with their misguided view of the Constitution.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is focused on preventing violence.
“We have to keep our people, our constituents, our cities, our counties safe,” said Lee. “But the free speech of anyone is something that we all agree on in terms of First Amendment rights.”
When it comes to protests, there are generally two exceptions to the First Amendment. First, speech that is meant to and likely to incite “imminent lawless action.” Second, any direct face-to-face personal insults that inflict injury or breech the peace.
There may be much of that this weekend.