Supreme Court rules on 2004 Jacksonville presidential protest

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, May 27 2014 at 5:23 PM, Updated: Tue, May 27 2014 at 7:05 PM

Jacksonville, Ore. -- The highest court in the United States sided with the Secret Service in a 10-year old case out of Jacksonville about a presidential protest that turned violent.

In a nearly 20-page ruling handed down on Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from 2012 that sided with protesters. They said their rights were violated.

It was a chaotic scene 10 years ago in downtown Jacksonville where protestors said they were assaulted by police and Secret Service agents.

"They marched on us. They pushed people down they struck people with batons, they fired capsicum, pepper spray bullets injuring people," said Shelley Elkovich in a prior interview from March 2014.

Protesters said they were moved away from President George W. Bush when he was visiting Jacksonville in 2004 and in the process got clubbed and pepper sprayed.

However John Campbell who was eating at the table next to the president at the Jacksonville Inn, said the crowd outside was getting rowdy.

"After the president arrived, the noise levels became very loud outside and there was a lot of commotion and banging and everything else," said Campbell.

According to Campbell, protesters held signs.

"Signs like you know, Bush is the anti-christ," he recalled.

Campbell said demonstrators were unhappy about the president being in town.

"I could hear obscenities," said Campbell.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision, ruling against protesters, saying the Secret Service were within their rights.

In their opinion, the justices concluded:

"Because of the protesters' location, they posed a potential security risk to the president," read one statement.

"This case is scarcely one in which the agents lacked a valid security reason for their actions," read another statement in the ruling.

NBC 5 spoke with David Fidanque with the American Civil Liberties Union. He said they're disappointed. While the Supreme Court sided with Secret Service agents, Fidanque said the ACLU still needs to figure out whether it's practical to go forward with the remainder of the case, alleging local and state police used excessive force.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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