Citizens group to City Council: Comic Cowboys embarrassment to city

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) - The organization calling themselves the Indivisible Party confronted the city council Tuesday saying the society's signs were an embarrassment to the city. They believe the city has a moral and legal obligation to monitor what goes on in public spaces.

“That some of their messages were racially charged and had crossed the line of acceptability,” says David Smith.

David Smith addressed city council Tuesday morning with at least 13 other people standing in solidarity with him.

“We’d like to see some responsibility in terms of what’s said. We’re not trying to impose on free speech, but we want things to be decent and in order,” says Smith.

Last year, the Comic Cowboys made headlines with their signs poking fun at the Black Lives Matter movement, the city of Prichard, and one comparing Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peek to Hitler. The Comic Cowboys society has been a regular on the Mobile Mardi Gras parade route for 130 years. Their motto: “Without Malice”. However, recently they’ve pressed more than a few buttons.

“And it just doesn’t line up with our 'One Mobile' philosophy campaign initiative that the mayor is leading,” says Julie West.

Comic Cowboys responded to complaints last year saying: “Please rest assured, in the future we will cease from comments which may be hurtful to our citizens. Our members respect the Mardi Gras viewers and our future parades will take everyone’s feelings into consideration.”

The group found an ordinance that is on the books in New Orleans that they say shows how that city deals with the issue. The city plans to continue this discussion with the group.

“We asked them to get with our attorney, share with them what New Orleans has done to see if there is something that we want to do or can do, whatever New Orleans is doing, I’m in,” says Councilman Fred Richardson.

Richardson says there’s nothing they can do about this year’s parade. We spoke with other council members who say they don’t believe another law is the answer to this problem, and that the cowboys have not done anything illegal. We will continue to update you on this story as it develops.

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Northwest Florida