ACLU Says Protesters’ Rights Were Violated
The American Civil Liberties Union and several other local groups in Baton Rouge have taken legal issue with the way Baton Rouge police handled Sunday's protest over the death of Alton Sterling. The ACLU believes that the First Amendment rights of the individuals in the group were violated by the police action.
Louisiana's Executive Director of the ACLU, Marjorie Esman told the Louisiana Radio Network that police were in direct violation of the United States Constitution when they showed up at the peaceful demonstration on Sunday and begin taking people into custody.
We have stories of people being pulled out of the crowd and into the street and then being arrested for being in the street, where they had not been before.
The ACLU suit also names the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office and Louisiana State Police as defendants in the suit.
There’s a lot that suggests that the police came looking for a fight, and when there was no fight they created it. That’s what it looks like.
Many have criticized the law enforcement's decision to have officers work the demonstration dressed in full riot gear. That decision was addressed by Baton Rouge Police in a news conference held on Tuesday. The Baton Rouge Chief of Police told the media of a specific threat to use deadly force against officers. Hence the reason for the protective gear.
We need a federal judge to order all of the law enforcement agencies in Baton Rouge to discontinue these kinds of practices so that people can in face engage in their right to protest peacefully.
Esman's comments support the claims of the ACLU suit that ask for a temporary restraining order against Baton Rouge law enforcement. Esman suggested in her comments that the threat of arrest and aggressive tactics would be deterrents to those who might want to be a part of any future peaceful demonstrations.