ACLU of Maine Sends Letter to Police Outlining Rights of Protestors

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
January 17, 2017 2:45 pm

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PORTLAND, Maine – The ACLU of Maine today sent a letter to the chiefs of all Maine police departments, offering recommendations for responding to peaceful protests.

“Protesting, picketing and leafleting are activities protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Jamesa Drake, staff attorney with the ACLU of Maine. “Peaceful protest has a long tradition in our country, and it is an entirely appropriate way for anyone to participate in the political discourse. Law enforcement officials must be well-versed in the rights of protestors.”

According to the letter, streets, sidewalks, parks and other public locations that the government has used for speech activities are generally permissible locations for a protest. Police and governmental officials are permitted to draw narrow, neutral “time, place and manner” restrictions about when and where a protest may occur.

In the months following the election, the ACLU has received dozens of requests for information from people wishing to know their rights when it comes to demonstrating and interacting with the police.

“We expect that the coming months and years will see an increase in peaceful protests and other forms of activism, from people concerned over threats to the rights and well-being of immigrants, Muslims, women and people living in poverty,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director of the ACLU of Maine. “We want law enforcement to be prepared, and we want to help them be prepared.”

The full text of the letter is available here:

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