Black Lives Matter Protesters Sue L.A. County, Claim Curfew Violated Their Rights

A protester breaks a window with a chair during a protest in downtown Los Angeles, Friday, May 29, 2020. Protests have been erupting all over the country after George Floyd died earlier this week in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa

Several dozen people who were arrested for breaking the local curfew during last spring’s Black Lives Matter protests and riots have sued Los Angeles County, alleging their First Amendment rights were violated, calling the arrests a “tool of oppression.”

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday:

The lawsuit alleges a slate of violations of the protesters’ constitutional and civil rights, assault and battery, false imprisonment, negligence and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and calls the curfew a “tool of oppression” used by government actors to suppress the truth and shore up false narratives about American policing.

“Its purpose was to create a lasting chilling effect on the lawful exercise of speech, stopping individuals from participation in peaceful assembly,” the plaintiffs claim in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week. “Under the guise of action to stop looting, mass arrests were made of people committing no crime but speaking truth to power.”

The latest lawsuit alleges the mistreatment occurred across the region, not only in Los Angeles but in unincorporated parts of the county and in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills as well. It alleges the municipalities and their police forces used the curfew “to trap protesters and enact sweeping arrests” without just cause, and did so “in concert” with one another.

The curfew was declared after a weekend in which rioters attacked police, looted stores, and vandalized public buildings. Rioters in Los Angeles, for example, vandalized a synagogue — on the Jewish Sabbath and the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Many stores in Santa Monica’s commercial district, which was targeted by the riots, remains boarded up, several months later.

The vast majority of those arrested were booked for non-violent offenses. Local officials saw the curfew, reinforced by National Guard troops at strategic points in the city, as the only way to contain the violence after several days of chaos.

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 newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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