Appeals court backs wildlife activist in free speech case

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a wildlife activist who said his free speech rights were violated when a sheriff’s deputy barred him from watching livestock agents herd wild bison into Yellowstone National Park.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday there was no legitimate reason to prevent activist Anthony Reed from observing the bison from a nearby gravel road in May 2012.

A Gallatin County sheriff’s deputy cited Reed for obstructing a peace officer after Reed initially would not get behind a barricade that was out of sight of the herding operations.

A state court dismissed the obstruction charge, and Reed sued Gallatin County officials for violating his First Amendment rights.

He later appealed after a lower court sided with the defendants.