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ACLU Sues Los Angeles City and County Over Curfew Orders

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter, says curfew violates the First Amendment and suppress political protest

The ACLU of Southern California on Wednesday filed suit against the city and county of Los Angeles and the city of San Bernadino over the curfews imposed in the areas in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The suit was filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and four individual plaintiffs. (Editors note: As of Wednesday, curfews have been lifted in Los Angeles County).

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD chief Michael Moore, L.A. County sheriff Alex Villanueva and San Bernardino Police chief Eric McBride are among the defendants named in the suit, which you can view here. Representatives for the defendants did not immediately return a request for comment.

One of the plaintiffs is journalist Lexis Olivier Ray, the housing and justice reporter for local news website L.A. Taco. According to the ACLU, Ray “has observed other journalists being detained and arrested for violating the curfew while covering the protests and fears he will be arrested while reporting on them.”

Other plaintiffs range from protesters to inhabitants of the area who “simply [wish] to go outside at night.”

“The curfews’ extraordinary suppression of all political protest in the evening hours plainly violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and their blanket restrictions on movement outside working hours violate the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement,” said a statement from the ACLU.

“The City and County of Los Angeles are attempting to use these curfews to suppress Black Lives Matter – L.A.’s right to protest,” said Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-L.A. “They are attempting to suppress our ability to fully mobilize and focus full attention on the true issue of concern in the protests — police violence against Black people.”

The ACLU of Southern California joins the ACLU of Minnesota in suing over the recent protests that have broken out in major American cities. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of journalists who have been targeted and attacked while covering the protests that began after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.