The NLG LA’s Mass Protest Defense Committee Gets Beverly Hills To Dismiss Unconstitutional Criminal Charges Against Protestors

On June 26, 2020, over two dozen protestors marching in Beverly Hills in support of Black lives  and to protest the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were arrested by the  Beverly Hills Police Department (“BHPD”) and held overnight, and for nearly a full additional  day, in custody. When they were finally released, the City of Beverly Hills decided to criminally  charge the protestors with violating an emergency curfew ordinance passed by the Beverly Hills  City Council, to “preserve the peace and tranquility of residential neighborhoods.” The City  Council made any violation of this ordinance a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to six  months in jail.

On Friday, March 19th, volunteer attorneys with The National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles’  (“NLG-LA”) Mass Protest Defense Committee secured a dismissal of all criminal charges  against these protestors on the bases that the Beverly Hills ordinance violates protestors First  Amendment Rights to free speech and was designed with the intent to suppress protest activity.  L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham granted the dismissal, ruling that the city’s  emergency curfew order was unconstitutional because requiring silence in residential areas  violated people’s right to free speech.

NLG-LA’s Mass Protest Defense Committee (“MDC”) was launched in June of 2020 in  response to the wave of mass arrests of protestors participating in racial justice solidarity protests  across Los Angeles County. The MDC organizes volunteer lawyers to provide pro bono criminal  defense representation to arrested protestors, provides post-arrest legal support to protestors, and  coordinates non-filing advocacy campaigns to prevent protestors from being criminalized for  exercising their First Amendment Rights.

This dismissal would not have been possible without the exceptional leadership and advocacy of  volunteer MDC attorneys Jerod Gunsberg, Bess Stiffelman, and Jeffery Douglas. The MDC is  proud of the tremendous result achieved by these incredible volunteer advocates and stands in  solidarity with all movements for social, racial, and economic justice.

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