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Lawsuit: California Peaceful Protesters Sue Cities for Unlawful Arrests Following Illegal Curfews

As of June 4, 2020, I have represented dozens and dozens of peaceful protestors who were detained, arrested and subjected to horrific conditions by law enforcement after curfews were imposed between May 30 and June 3 in cities across Southern California. The curfews were illegal and a direct violation of these protestors’ first amendment right to assembly and to free speech. Taking to the streets following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers - and as part of the Black Lives Matter movement- these protestors are warriors seeking systemic change, a cornerstone of which is criminal justice reform. Nonetheless, multiple California cities criminalized and enforced broad unfettered curfews as against thousands of individuals. It was wrong and it was unconstitutional.


On some nights the curfews were advanced with last minute notice when these protestors were out on the streets and blocked in by law enforcement. Initially, thousands of these protestors were arrested and charged with misdemeanor crimes, namely failure to obey the curfew and failure to disperse. While I commend and thank the cities and counties that have agreed to decline prosecution of these charges, their decision does not address the core issue: that these protestors have suffered arrest records and multiple wrongs. It does not absolve the illegality of the curfew and the violation of these individuals’ first amendment rights. Nor does it address their grievances.


For hours, these individuals were driven from precinct to precinct in dark crowded busses, without safety measures and PPE during a pandemic. Without the ability to use the bathroom. Without water or the ability to access and take their medications. Some were assaulted, hit with batons and shot at with rubber bullets. Many sustained injuries. On some nights these curfews were advanced with last minute notice when these protestors were out on the streets and blocked in by law enforcement.


I cannot and will not rest. I have therefore joined forces with my colleague John Carpenter of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley and his litigation group "Truth Love Justice" so that together we can seek justice and accountability on behalf of the protestors.


The path to justice begins with the truth. As John put it "When the government enacts and enforces an illegal curfew to infringe on an individual’s expression of the truth, it creates a tool of oppression to benefit those peddling a false narrative and undermines the foundation of our society. The voices of people begging for justice have been unlawfully silenced. Even in its wake, the chill of the illegal curfew persists. While its damage has been done, it must never be done again.”


On June 18, we begun the process of filing claims for damages against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department on behalf of dozens of protesters, including actress Jaime King. This is only the beginning of our path to justice for the protestors. As we state in our complaints,

“despite the plain language protection granted through federal and state constitutions alike, the City of Los Angeles and many other municipalities throughout California have taken direct action to silence the voices of the oppressed. An illegal curfew, violative of, without limitation, individuals’ First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to the United States Constitution, as well as the reciprocal iterations in the California Constitution, has been implemented and weaponized to chill the calls of government grievance.”


I am committed to working with my brilliant team to seek justice for all peaceful protestors and ensuring that the cities and officials involved are held accountable.


If you or anyone you know has been detained, arrested, and/or injured while peacefully protesting in California, please reach out to me and my team for more information about joining our lawsuit by emailing sara@truthlovejustice.com or visiting: www.truthlovejustice.com.


At the Law Office of Sara Azari in Los Angeles, you will find a criminal defense attorney who is committed to protecting the rights of and aggressively pursuing justice for her clients. Sara Azari has successfully represented clients in a range of criminal cases in both state and federal courts.

 

333 S. Hope Street, Suite 4000

Los Angeles, CA 90071

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