Lawsuit targets petition restrictions at state fairgrounds

SEATTLE (AP) — A man says the city of Puyallup violated his constitutional rights when police barred him from collecting signatures for initiative petitions on a public sidewalk outside the Washington State Fairgrounds.

Roy Ruffino sued the city in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday. He said Puyallup police enforcing a “pedestrian safety zone” outside the Washington State Spring Fair in April barred him from collecting signatures and threatened to arrest him if he didn’t leave.

The lawsuit says City Manager Kevin Yamamoto regularly issues executive orders that nothing hinder people walking into the fairgrounds for major events. The orders don’t mention signature gathering but police have interpreted them to bar signature gathering.

Ruffino says that’s a violation of his rights to free speech and initiative under the state and federal constitutions. Brenda Fritsvold, a spokeswoman for the city manager’s office, said the city is reviewing the lawsuit.