After the U.S. Park Police (USPP) led law enforcement to forcibly shut down a mostly peaceful protest on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., an hour before a city-wide curfew on June 1st, 2020, the protestors and the press have pushed for answers about who was responsible for the decision. More than a year later, the Department of Interior has published a report with some answers.
On June 7th, a Michigan federal court dismissed a First Amendment challenge filed against the city of Detroit by a group of anti-abortion protesters. The case offers an interesting look at how courts balance public safety concerns against the right to protest.
Since Florida Governor Ron. DeSantis signed the “Combating Public Disorder” act into law this past April, civil liberties groups across the country have questioned its constitutionality. Now, two separate groups have sought to challenge the law in federal court.
On April 19th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law H.B. 1, new legislation that includes a collection of amendments and additions to existing Florida statutes concerning criminal charges for violent protests. The legislation enhances penalties for people who commit crimes during a riot and gives the state the power to approve funding of local budgets, particularly in regards to funding law enforcement.
While there may exist some disagreement as to whether raising penalties for crimes associated with rioting violates the First Amendment, there is at least one provision in the Kentucky bill that is explicitly unconstitutional.
Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill, HB 2309, that would heighten the penalties for a number of charges associated with protests, and create a new charge for behavior deemed “violent or disorderly assembly.”
A new report found that NYPD officers deployed during the George Floyd protests this summer "failed to discriminate between lawful, peaceful protesters and unlawful actors,” and frequently resorted to aggressive crowd control tactics that failed to adequately take protesters' expressive rights into consideration.
On November 5th, two days after election day, and the public is still waiting to find out who their next President will be. Amidst the uncertainty, protests across the U.S. have emerged in response to either the fear that not all votes will be counted or that the current count is inaccurate.