EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A verbal altercation over the weekend with a local political candidate led to a citation for one local homeowner, who could also be facing charges for allegedly using a homophobic slur.
Blake Aguirre is a Democratic candidate for Senate District 22, which includes parts of Canadian and Oklahoma counties.
Aguirre told KFOR he was out canvassing with his team for more election support in an Edmond neighborhood Saturday when they encountered a home with signs that said ‘no soliciting’ and ‘beware of dog’ on and near their front door.
Political canvassing, which includes door knocking, is categorized as non-commercial speech, and could be protected under a broad definition of speech, under the First Amendment.
KFOR contacted the ACLU Oklahoma Monday who confirmed that door knockers are “implied licensees” and have a right to be on a property for the “limited purpose of knocking on the door to initiate an exchange.”
However, that license can be revoked if an occupant or homeowner specifically asks a canvasser to leave or if a “no trespassing” sign is visible. Aguirre says there there was not a sign about trespassing visible over the weekend.
Believing that the homeowners were not home at the time, Aguirre said he chose to leave a campaign brochure at the door because he saw other campaign materials had also been left on the door.
“[I said] let’s just leave the literature out the door. Don’t door knock [and] don’t ring the doorbell because no one’s home anyways,” he said Monday in an interview with KFOR.
Aguirre said as he turned to walk away, he was confronted by the man who lived in the home, along with a dog who was not leashed.
“He [said] ‘Don’t leave this at my door,’ and threw the literature at me,” he added, also saying that the man began yelling and cursing at him, while referring to him using a homophobic slur.
He later caught a woman living at the home “giving him the bird” on both hands before pulling up her shirt and exposing her undergarments.
Aguirre said he ultimately called the police to help “de-escalate” the situation.
A police report obtained from Oklahoma City Police Department on the incident notes that the male homeowner was later cited for “Failure to Leash [a] Dog on Private Property,” as well as an offense for intimidation, which was described on the report as “anti-male homosexual bias.”
KFOR attempted to get in touch with the homeowners but did not get a response.
Even though Aguirre says there was not a ‘no trespassing’ sign visible over the weekend, there was a “no trespassing” sign visible in the front yard of the home on Monday when KFOR went to the home.
In Oklahoma, trespassing is considered a misdemeanor, and charges can result in fines and jail time, depending on the nature of the offense.