The Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union Sunday criticized the official response to the violence that broke out over the weekend at demonstrations against Monday’s police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Universal curfews and the deployment of armed National Guard in Los Angeles are the wrong way to handle disruptions in otherwise peaceful protests,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.
“Curfews that bar all presence in public are far broader than necessary to address problems at protests and sweep in necessary activities like providing care to others at a time people’s resources are already strained by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders,” he continued.
“By making presence on public streets anywhere in the city unlawful, these measures give police too much discretion over whom to arrest and will lead to selective and biased enforcement and risk harassment of people who are unhoused. They also bar press coverage of any public happenings. Combined with the aggressive show of military force and the troubling accounts of police using batons and rubber bullets not just in response to threatened force but against peaceful protestors, these approaches repeat the very problems at the root of the protests.”
Villagra called on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and leaders of surrounding cities to “listen not instigate or escalate, to protect protestors’ rights, and to take meaningful action on longstanding concerns of black and brown communities like considering public health and safety strategies that do not rely on or fund police over pressing needs.”
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