The Christian County prosecutor and sheriff are attempting to block the public's access to the Finley River at the Linden dam in direct violation of federal and state law. Under those laws, all rivers in the United States are public, including the dry gravel banks up to the high water mark. If you love Linden and are tired of big government abusing its authority, help us fight this!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1. Contact Our Elected Representatives
Contact the elected officials below and ask them to investigate the blatantly illegal actions of Sheriff Joey Kyle and Prosecutor Amy Fite.
Simple talking points:
- The sheriff and prosecutor have spent most of the last six months telling families visiting Linden that they were trespassing on the Finley River at Linden and threatening to arrest them, even though it was completely legal for the public to be there. Off-duty Christian County officers are still being permitted to work security at the dam and continue to needlessly harass the public.
- The sheriff and prosecutor are forcing the public to go through a mandatory license and registration checkpoint EVERY weekend on the only county road with access to Linden before being allowed access to this public waterway that they have every legal right to visit. This is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment and its guarantee that the public be free of unreasonable and excessive search and seizure. Searches and seizures are also unconstitutional when used in a discrminatory manner or as a method of intimidation or coercion, which is clearly and obviously the case here.
- The public is still being incorrectly told that they are trespassing and threatened with arrest if they step foot into the section of the Finley River that spills directly over the dam at Linden, despite this being contrary to established federal and state river law. ALL sections of the river are public. A private, underwater construction does not supersede the right of the public to use of that section of the river or to stand, fish, or swim in it.
- Just a few months ago, Sheriff Kyle took to the airwaves to beg Christian County voters for both the justice center tax and the renewal of the law enforcement tax, claiming difficulties for the resource and cash-strapped department. Yet somehow he now has the money and resources to have a dozen officers AND jail officers manning a roadblock at Linden every single weekend in order to keep people away from a public fishing and swimming area that they consider a nuisance to their department.
- Tell them about Linden and about the sheer enormous amount of people and voters who visit it every summer and whose rights are being trampled on.
- Tell them anything else you can about the sheriff and prosecutor's ongoing campaign of harassment against the public at Linden and direct them to FreeLinden.com if they need more information.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
Phone: 573-751-3321 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (MO)
Phone: 417-877-7814 Or email here.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (MO)
Phone: 417-868-8745 Or email here.
U.S. House Representative Billy Long (MO - 7th District)
Phone: 417-889-1800 Or email here.
Missouri State Senator Jay Wasson (District 20)
Phone: 866-242-0810 Email: email@example.com
Missouri State Representative Ray Weter (District 142)
Phone: 573-751-2565 Email: Raymond.Weter@house.mo.gov
2. Contact The Prosecutor
Contact Christian County prosecutor Amy Fite and ask her why someone who ran for office as a small-government conservative is denying outdoorsmen, fishermen and families their legal access to the Finley River on behalf of a few rich home owners. You may remind her that she is an elected official and that the hundreds of people being denied their rights will remember her actions come re-election time.
Prosecutor's office: 417-581-7915
Or click here to email the prosecutor.
3. Contact Sheriff Joey Kyle
Ask Sheriff Kyle why he had deputies stationed on the banks of the Finley River every weekend treating families with small children like criminals and telling them they were trespassing when they weren't and ask him why he is still allowing off-duty officers to work security there and continue to do the same. Ask him why he's forcing the public to go through the same license and registration check on the same county road every single weekend before being allowed access to a public waterway that they have every legal right to visit. Point out that this is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the public the right to be free of unreasonable and excessive search and seizure. Remind Sheriff Kyle that he is an elected official and is up for re-election.
Sheriff's office: 417-581-2332
4. Contact the Media
Contact all the major media outlets and ask them to cover this story, which has so far been mostly ignored. If you have any personal contacts of your own within the media, use them!
KOLR 10: 417-862-6397
Springfield News-Leader: 417-836-1100
Christian County Headliner: 417-581-3541
Christian County Sun: 417-551-9277
5. Like Us on Facebook
Please help get the word out by liking us on Facebook!
6. Print Our Flyer
Please print out our simple one-page flyer and hang it as many places as you can--any place that people will see it. We need as many people to know what's going on as possible!
7. Most Importantly - GO TO LINDEN!
Although the sheriff's department is still escorting people out who stand on the dry banks at Linden, they have stated they will not bother anyone who remains in the waterway. So please, go to the Linden dam and show your support. The prosecutor's office and sheriff's department wants to scare people away from going to Linden with intimidation tactics and lies. We need to show them that we know our rights and that we're not going anywhere. Remember: You will not be arrested if you remain in the waterway!
The sheriff's department still had their off-duty officer posted at the dam this weekend. However, it appeared the license and registration check wasn't set up at the entrance to Linden on Sunday and there were nowhere near as many officers present, so perhaps the sheriff's department has finally decided to ease up on their campaign of harassment and stop with their questionably-legal roadblock. Another victory? Time will tell.
Due to the continuing campaign of harassment at Linden, we have added contact information for several relevant elected officials to the front page of the site. Please call and email them as well. Every single call helps!
The sheriff's department must have decided Linden needed some babysitting for the Fourth. There was a particularly loud and childish off-duty officer posted at the dam who spent the day screaming belligerently at families through a bullhorn and basically doing his level best to ruin everyone's peaceful holiday. At one point, he even aggressively got into the faces of a few kids and screamed and threatened to arrest them for disorderly conduct because one of them committed the grave crime of wishing him a happy fourth after they'd been hollered at. Pathetic. Happy Fourth of July from the Christian County Sheriff's Department.
Another weekend, another not-quite-legal license and registration check at the entrance to Linden with officers everywhere. They were still incorrectly ordering people off the submerged dam. Isn't it funny that just a few months back Sheriff Joey Kyle was begging Christian County voters to renew the law enforcement tax for the supposedly cash-strapped department, yet he somehow has the money and resources to waste on a dozen officers manning a permanent roadblock at Linden just to intimidate and inconvenience people away from a public swimming hole every weekend?
Christian County sheriff's deputies were once again manning their questionably-legal and retaliatory roadblock at the entrance to Linden this weekend. Rest assured that the sheriff's department is devoting countless man hours to stopping the hundreds of dangerous criminals that might wreak havoc and threaten the fabric of our society by swimming in the Finley River. Still no signs of anyone being escorted off the banks as before, although deputies continued to incorrectly inform people that they were trespassing on the submerged sections of the dam and were loudly ordering people away from it all weekend.
Still no word from the prosecutor or sheriff that they will cease misleading people and telling them that they're trespassing if they stand in the river atop the submerged section of the dam. So please keep those calls and emails coming--every single one helps! Let them know that if you're standing in the water of the Finley River, you are NOT trespassing as no prosecutor, sheriff, or home owner can impede your access to ANY section of the river under federal and state law. The sheriff's department once again had around a dozen deputies at Linden through the weekend manning a roadblock for mandatory license checks, although fortunately there were still no signs of anyone being escorted off the banks. All the same, one has to question the excessive waste of resources and the motivation of having that many deputies stationed at Linden for two full days every week to run the licenses of law-abiding people who just want to play in the river when there are over 500 square miles of Christian County that they are responsible for policing. Can everyone say "campaign of harassment?" How about "arbitrary checkpoint" and "police retaliation?"
License and registration check continuing at the entrance to Linden, but as far as we can tell people are still being allowed to remain on the dry banks without harassment. We are still working to get the prosecutor and sheriff to recognize that it is NOT trespassing to be standing or sitting on the underwater sections of the dam (NOT the dry raised areas of the dam on each far side) and that the public has every legal right to be in that portion of the river as they would any other section of the river there--the law is clear and the fact that the dam is underneath the water in that piece of the river instead of river gravel does not change this. So please keep those calls and emails coming! We will keep everyone posted.
We received an email from Sheriff Joey Kyle in regards to the Linden issue. Click here to read Sheriff Kyle's email and our response back to him.
Success? There were at least 10 deputies manning a license and registration check at the entrance to Linden, but it appeared that they were no longer trying to keep people off the public dry banks near the dam. There was also one off-duty deputy standing guard duty on homeowner property above the high water mark upstream of the dam, but he also appeared to no longer be harassing people on the dry banks below the high water mark. This is the way Christian County should've handled the situation at Linden from the beginning. Is it permanent? Time will tell and we'll keep everyone informed.
Hundreds of people at Linden today and the off-duty Christian County deputies were once again posted near the Linden dam and continued to turn away families looking to enjoy their Memorial Day weekend in the river. Yet again, people turned away were incorrectly instructed that they would be trespassing on the dry banks and threatened with arrest for doing so.
Off-duty Christian County deputies, paid by the Linden homeowner's association in cooperation with the sheriff's department, are again stationed on the dry banks at Linden for Memorial Day weekend. Families are being turned away and erroneously told that they are trespassing if they don't remain in the water while north of the bridge.
Reports are coming in that the Linden homeowner's association has smeared lubricant all over the dam. Please be aware of this if you're going to portage around the dam so that you or your children don't slip and break their necks, especially those of you transporting canoes downstream.
Christian County sheriff's deputies were posted at Linden all weekend and continuously escorted families away from the dam. None of the families were informed that they could be in the waterway and were simply told incorrectly that "anything north of the bridge is private property." Missouri Conservation was present and instructed the deputies that their interpretation of river law was incorrect and that the dry banks as well as the waterway are public.