Los Angeles authorities will not pursue criminal charges or fines against the hundreds of “peaceful protesters” who were arrested and detained for breaking curfew last week, after Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the city.
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday evening:
Faced with growing criticism over the arrests of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, top Los Angeles law enforcement officials said Sunday they will not pursue criminal or financial penalties against the protesters.
The decision follows complaints by many of those arrested that they spent hours in plastic handcuffs in crammed buses without justification, leaving them with injuries and potentially exposing them to the coronavirus. Many of those were taken into custody last week for either violating curfew rules or failing to disperse after the LAPD had declared their protest unlawful.
A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Black Lives Matter L.A. claims the curfews illegally suppressed constitutionally protected protests and violated people’s freedom of movement. The organizations have also decried videos that show police officers responding with violence against protesters, including swinging batons and firing foam and sponge projectiles.
Local authorities imposed the curfew and Mayor Eric Garcetti called in the National Guard last week after Black Lives Matter protests turned violent, looting stores, vandalizing buildings (including synagogues), and trashing police cars.
The curfew and mass arrests helped local authorities restore calm to the city.
However, the ACLU said last week that the extraordinary measures were a violation of First Amendment rights: “The curfews’ extraordinary suppression of all political protest in the evening hours plainly violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and their blanket restrictions on movement outside working hours violate the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement,” the ACLU said.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.