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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Northern California Municipalities & Police Violating First Amendment of US Constitution
The police and the municipal benefactors seem so willing to destroy the constitution and replace it with a police state
The Constitution provides for the right of people to assemble and to express themselves in public. Recent police and municipal behavior around the murder of Oscar Grant III by a BART police office suggest that they would like to stifle protest and dissent. Today, at a protest and commemoration of the birthday of Oscar Grant III the police presence for several hundred peaceful protestors was huge. Streets were blocked off. The march from the Bart Station to the Hayward City Hall was accompanied by throngs of motorcycle cops. When the crowd reached City Hall, they were virtually surrounded by police, many with their batons raised and with noisy helicopters overhead. Additionally, cops were on top of buildings and were seen inside of City Hall video taping the gathering.
Is this necessary? Is the purpose to protect property or to subvert and stifle legitimate protest and dissent? It all appears to be an overkill intended to intimidate legitimate protests by American citizens. This may well violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. Here are some of the reasons:
1) Helicopters hovering overhead today created such noise that it was difficult to hear what the speakers were saying. This stifles protests and prevents citizens from exercising their right to free speech. An injunction should be obtained preventing Helicopters from being able to stifle speech and communications of protests held by the public.
2) The huge police presence likely intimidates more conservative or timid members of the public from expressing their free speech rights and inhibits their ability to express their point of view. As with the Port Riots at the Port of Oakland, Citizens and others may feel fearful that just for exercising their legitimate right to protest and speak freely they will be attacked by police and possibly receive serious injuries. These unlawful activities by police very likely keep many people from exercising their legitimate rights as a citizen.
3) Police have been routinely been videotaping protests. Is this legitimate or does it serve to stifle participation and inhibit citizens from exercising their legitimate rights. What is the purpose of these police videos? Why should a citizen marching or participating in a legitimate protest or speech be intimidated by police videotaping their legitimate activities? This should not be permitted and seems to be a violation of the constitution in that it is an attempt to intimidate. Many more conservative and traditional citizens particularly people who have suffered from past violations of their rights will think twice or may not participate at all.
The cities of the Bay Area and the police forces should not be allowed to stifle legitimate dissent and protest. They should not be creating an environment where citizens fear for their privacy or safety because of the videotaping of protests and marches. Police should not be permitted to use helicopters that drown out the speeches of legitimate protestors and serve to completely destroy the free speech rights of participants. An injunction should be sought to prohibit this illegal intrusion on our freedom of speech. Police presence at protests should be reasonable and not at a level used to intimidate participants or to intimidate some people from even participating. This is a sorry state of affairs where the police and the municipalities apparently want to create fear and intimidation of the citizens. They should not be permitted to do this any more. Why do the police and our municipal authorities seem so willing to destroy our legitimate constitutional rights? It is time to fight this intrusion and end it once and for all. By limiting free speech the government officials actually build up anger in the public which could lead to unfortunate acts of property damage.