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The Intersection of Safety and Expression: Injunctive Relief in Crowd Control Measures

Municipal Lawyer

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  • July 08, 2019

Daniel Peterson and Mac McCarley wrote a guest article in Municipal Lawyer on best practices for local government attorneys dealing with mass demonstrations. 

"All mass demonstrations can present unique issues for law enforcement agencies, but the demonstrations that turn to rioting are peculiarly dangerous," they wrote. "Public participation rights—particularly practiced in the public streets and sidewalks by picketing and parading—are enshrined in the American ethos as part of what makes us… well… ‘us.’ What happens when a peaceful demonstration devolves into a violent riot? When tensions spill over into violent rioting, law enforcement agencies must be able to respond, and have confidence that they are responding in accordance with the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments."

"All municipal attorneys should be prepared to defend their law enforcement agency’s crowd control tactics in court," they continued. "We will make suggestions on how to craft such a response efficiently and effectively. We will explain the standard of review for both temporary restraining orders (TROs) and preliminary injunctions. There will be a section on using live video feed from social media as real-time fact-checker for both the plaintiff(s) and the law enforcement agency. Finally, we will discuss what the case law says about the merits of common claims made against law enforcement in these situations – and provide practical tips for municipal lawyers based on that case law."

You can read the full article hereMunicipal Lawyer is the flagship publication of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), a leading advocate and resource for local government attorneys since 1935.