Protester Rights in Fort Lauderdale, Miami: Pro Bono Lawyer for Peaceful Protesters
This weekend, thousands protested in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and beyond to show pain, outrage and to demand justice for George Floyd – an unarmed Black Man killed by a police officer in downtown Minneapolis May 25.
As a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense law firm we’re committed to social and racial justice. As part of this, our firm will be offering Pro Bono legal services to anyone who is arrested in the Tri-County Area for peacefully protesting in support of George Floyd, racial equality, and/or against police brutality.
It is our pleasure and passion to assist good people when bad things happen to them. We believe it is our duty to use our power to protect all who are willing to raise their voices in support of equality.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.
PROTESTER RIGHTS FOR FORT LAUDERDALE AND MIAMI
- 1) The right to protest is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the US Constitution and the First Amendment
- 2) If you get stopped by police – ask if you are free to go (if they say yes, calmly walk away)
- 3) You have the right to record: The right to protest includes the right to record police doing their jobs. If stopped, police cannot take or confiscate any videos or photos without a warrant. Images & video images are always fully protected by the First Amendment (states may have differing laws on the video audio).
- 4) If you are arrested – don’t say anything. Ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t sign anything. Don’t say anything without an attorney present. Demand your right to a local phone call. If you call a lawyer – they’re not allowed to listen (if you call someone else – they may listen)
- 5) Police cannot delete data from your device under any circumstances
POLICE RIGHTS DURING PROTESTS IN FORT LAUDERDALE AND MIAMI
- 1) Police can order people to stop interfering with legitimate police operations (video recording from a safe distance is not interfering)
- 2) The main job for police in a protest is to protect your right to protest and to deescalate any threat of violence
Even if you appropriately assert all of your rights, you still may be arrested. This is why it’s important to know and assert your rights, even if arrested. If you’re arrested protesting in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or the Tri-County area – Rossen law Firm has your back.
Here are some helpful infographics for protestors:
RIGHTS for attending a protest – (info directly from ACLU)
- Your rights are strongest in what are known as “traditional public forums,” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. You also likely have the right to speak out on other public property, like plazas in front of government buildings, as long as you are not blocking access to the government building or interfering with other purposes the property was designed for.
- Private property owners can set rules for speech on their property. The government may not restrict your speech if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.
- Counter protesters also have free speech rights. Police must treat protesters and counter protesters equally. Police are permitted to keep antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within sight and sound of one another.
- When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police. On private property, the owner may set rules related to photography or video.
- You don’t need a permit to march in the streets or on sidewalks, as long as marchers don’t obstruct car or pedestrian traffic. If you don’t have a permit, police officers can ask you to move to the side of a street or sidewalk to let others pass or for safety reasons.
What to do if you believe your rights have been violated
- When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
- Get contact information for witnesses.
- Take photographs of any injuries.
- Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
What happens if the police issues an order to disperse the protest?
- Shutting down a protest through a dispersal order must be law enforcement’s last resort. Police may not break up a gathering unless there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic, or other immediate threat to public safety.
- If officers issue a dispersal order, they must provide a reasonable opportunity to comply, including sufficient time and a clear, unobstructed exit path.
- Individuals must receive clear and detailed notice of a dispersal order, including how much time they have to disperse, the consequences of failing to disperse, and what clear exit route they can follow, before they may be arrested or charged with any crime.