National Anti-PATRIOT Movement Nears Nation's Capital as Baltimore City Council Adopts Pro-Civil Liberties Resolution

Affiliate: ACLU of Maryland
May 20, 2003 12:00 am

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BALTIMORE – The American Civil Liberties Union hailed passage yesterday evening of a pro-civil liberties resolution by the Baltimore City Council, making the largest city in Maryland the 108th community nationwide to officially express concern over unnecessary erosions of basic privacy and personal liberty in post-9/11 America.

“”Adoption of the Baltimore resolution is further evidence of the growing backlash in this country against federal policies that disregard the most basic convictions of American society,”” said Laura Murphy, Executive Director of the ACLU Washington National Office. “”As a proud Baltimore native, I applaud the City Council for asking the federal government to reform anti-terrorism measures that do little to increase security but diminish our liberty. As the resolution states, ‘there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty-Americans can be both safe and free.'””

Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi from the city’s sixth district, a predominantly African-American and highly religious community, introduced the resolution that speaks out against the most egregious provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, legislation that was hastily adopted by Congress within weeks of the tragic terrorist attacks.

After the resolution’s first reading in council, six council members immediately signed on as cosponsors. The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, and has enjoyed support from a diverse collection of advocacy groups, including the immigrants’ rights group Casa de Maryland, the state chapter of the NAACP, the Maryland ACLU and the American Friends Service Committee. More than 11.3 million people live in communities that have adopted resolutions opposing the PATRIOT Act.

The resolution directs Baltimore City Police to refrain from enforcing federal immigration policies; engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups based on participation in activities protected by the First Amendment, including political or religious views; using race and religion as factors to initiate investigations; and maintaining files on the views or associations of individuals when not warranted.

Public libraries in the city of Baltimore will also be directed to post, in prominent locations, a warning to patrons that under the USA PATRIOT Act, their library records may be obtained by federal law enforcement, and librarians are prohibited from disclosing such requests. Patrons are directed to send questions to Attorney General John Ashcroft.

“”There’s a reason why Maryland is called the Free State,”” said Murphy. “”Baltimore has a long history of protecting individual liberties, and its citizens join over 11 million Americans in 24 states in speaking out against the federal government’s insatiable appetite for ever-intrusive powers. Preserving our freedom isn’t a liberal or conservative concern – it’s an American one.””

The text of the resolution can be found at:

For more information on local resolutions, go to:

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