On June 9th, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington filed an emergency lawsuit demanding that the City of Seattle immediately stop using chemical agents on protestors. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Western Washington on behalf of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and individual demonstrators, comes in response to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) continued use of chemical agents for crowd control.
“The DEA’s narcotics interdiction tactics are not appropriate measures to address the limited violence that has taken place over the past few days or to monitor peaceful protests,” the letter said. “The expansion of the DEA’s law enforcement authority, including the use of ‘covert surveillance’ and collection of intelligence, is unwarranted and antithetical to the American people’s right to peacefully assemble and to exercise their Constitutional rights without undue Intrusion.”
The complaint cites six incidents of arrests, 14 incidents of the use of physical force, five incidents of the use of chemical agents, and five incidents of threatening language and gestures, made by police officers against reporters, often without warning.
The ACLU of Massachusetts says that the law, which was originally written to protect citizens from government surveillance, is now used to punish people for exercising their First Amendment right to gather information about public officials.
A city council in Eureka, California is planning to amend a 2016 ordinance that regulated “aggressive and intrusive” panhandling after concerns that the law likely violated the First Amendment.
The Department of Justice sued Snowden in September for publishing his memoir without submitting it first for government review. Snowden's lawyers have argued that the government does not apply rules consistently and that much of the information in the book had already been made public.
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit ruled that Mckesson could be held liable for injuries he did not immediately cause or encourage. Now, the ACLU is asking the Supreme Court in a petition to overturn the ruling or else risk a widespread chilling effect on protest.
In a new amicus brief, Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that Nunes cannot legally pursue the identity of the anonymous speaker without first proving he has a valid defamation claim. Without meeting this legal standard, they write, the court could threaten people's First Amendment right to anonymous speech.