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When the Torch Comes to Town

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March 31, 2008

On March 13, the ACLU of Northern California filed a Public Records Act request for information about the procedures the city of San Francisco intends to follow during the expected public demonstrations when the Olympic Torch passes through town on April 9.

In response they received almost identical letters from the Mayor’s Office and the San Francisco Police Department which indicate that the city doesn’t intend to restrict protestors along the torch route. Unfortunately, the city still hasn’t released the details of the exact location of the route – so, intentionally or not, they’re making it hard for people to organize.

Also not so encouraging: the SFPD response included sections of a Power Point presentation about crowd management and control, with text that apparently concerns ‘details of specific security procedures’ redacted.

The ACLU of Northern California will keep pushing for the city to release that route, and when the time comes they’ll be standing by to make sure any security procedures are in line with the Constitution. Let’s hope the city of San Francisco has more respect for the First Amendment than the White House.

CORRECTION: The ACLU of Northern California filed the Public Records Act request on March 13, not the week of March 21.

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