Advocacy groups threaten to sue NYC if curfew isn’t lifted immediately
Advocacy groups plan to sue the city for First Amendment violations if Mayor Bill de Blasio does not immediately lift his controversial 8 p.m. curfew.
The mayor instated the curfew on Monday in hopes of quelling violence and looting during ten days of largely peaceful anti-police brutality protests.
“The week-long, city-wide curfew unconstitutionally restricts individuals’ rights to free speech, assembly, and free movement,” according to a letter attorneys Avi Schick and Misha Tseytlin with the law firm Troutman Sanders sent to City Hall Friday.
The firm represents the New York Immigration Coalition, New York Communities for Change and Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY).
“This overboard lockdown has resulted in the unconstitutional arrest of numerous individuals for engaging in peaceful protests or merely going about their lives as free, law-abiding people,” the lawyers state.
They note that a similar case filed in Southern California resulted in the lifting of curfews in Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
“We respectfully request that the city likewise lift the city-wide curfew immediately in order to allow individuals to engage in peaceful protests, so that we similarly do not have to resort to legal process,” they say.
The daily 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew set to end Monday morning.
Reps for City Hall did not immediately return a request seeking comment.
Neal Kwatra, a political strategist who helped organized the legal challenge, said the “litigation will serve notice to the mayor and Commissioner Shea that individuals and groups who have long taken up the fight for social justice reform are not going to go quietly into the night and core constitutional freedoms are still alive and well in NYC.”
Mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said: “We are asking a lot of New Yorkers in this moment. We know no one wants to see the violence and looting we experienced in parts of the city earlier this week repeat itself. The curfew was extended to keep New Yorkers safe, and it will be lifted after this weekend.”
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