At a time when protests are happening with increasing frequency and intensity, cities and local governments across the country are struggling to find ways to rein in public. Torrance, CA is no exception. As Southern California’s Daily Breeze reports, the Torrance City Council recently made it a misdemeanor to disrupt city council meetings.
Turbulent meetings lead to arrests
The new ordinance is in response to an ongoing series of conflicts between City Council and people protesting the police shooting of Christopher De’Andre Mitchell last December. The week prior to the ordinance, three arrests resulted from clashes between protesters and counter-protesters.
A First Amendment question
Like most measures meant to curb protest, this ordinance raises questions about its compliance with the First Amendment of the Constitution. If you remember from your high school Civics classes, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and the right to peaceable assembly, among other things. Torrance, like so many other cities, is trying to define what does and does not constitute peaceful; however, they may find it more difficult to enforce in practice. After all, the First Amendment comes first for a reason.
Criminal defense services for protest-related charges
Anyone who has been arrested as part of a protest needs to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Depending upon the nature of the protest and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may find that the charges against you escalate with surprising intensity. Brian A. Newman has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of the accused in Torrance and Southern California. If you have been charged with a crime, schedule a free consultation today by calling (424) 275-4014 to schedule a complimentary consultation.