More than 40 people arrested in Los Angeles County for curfew violations during last summer’s mass protests have alleged in a new lawsuit that the curfews were an unconstitutional and coordinated tactic by the county, several local cities and their police forces to stifle legitimate political speech against police violence.
The lawsuit alleges a slate of violations of the protesters’ constitutional and civil rights, assault and battery, false imprisonment, negligence and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and calls the curfew a “tool of oppression” used by government actors to suppress the truth and shore up false narratives about American policing.
“Its purpose was to create a lasting chilling effect on the lawful exercise of speech, stopping individuals from participation in peaceful assembly,” the plaintiffs claim in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week. “Under the guise of action to stop looting, mass arrests were made of people committing no crime but speaking truth to power.”
The lawsuit is the latest in a mountain of litigation now pending against local entities in the wake of the 2020 unrest, which followed the deaths of George Floyd and other Black victims of police force and led to mass protests across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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