Farmers Market Free Speech Case Dismissed

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An Athens man who held a First Amendment demonstration at the Farmers Market and was arrested has had his case dismissed.

George Antczak, 33, was charged in Athens County Municipal Court with trespassing in May for refusing to leave the farmers market after he held the demonstration in response to a ban on political activities there.

The owners of The Market on State, where the market is held, told the farmers market not to allow political activities after the Athens Community Bill of Rights Committee — now attempting to get a ban on fracking in the city limits on the ballot — announced it would be collecting signatures for a ballot initiative.

Antczak told The Messenger at the time of his arrest that he demonstrated for about 25 minutes before staff asked him to leave. After Athens police arrived, Antczak got down on his knees, placed his sign on the ground and recited the First Amendment.

In the dismissal filed in Athens County Municipal Court, it states Antczak completed 20 hours of community service. He is still required to pay court costs, according to the document.