Krasner & Long, LLC recently appeared in news articles for The Declaration, CBS Philly, and Newswire, discussing a case that had been settled against the City of Philadelphia. A statute that would criminally penalize anyone who is protesting or otherwise participating in a demonstration that would.
The “Occupy Philly” Movement
Four years ago, a group of 25 people camped out just outside City Hill in protest of a civil rights lawsuit. The case against the city alleged that this was allowable under First Amendment Rights. By holding those individuals be permissible under First Amendment Rights. The City of Philadelphia has been ordered to pay $200, 000 in the settlement, however, still maintains that no violations of civil rights have occurred.
This case is what has prompted legislators to take a vote to consider amending the criminalization of protestors. Many civil rights advocates, including our Philadelphia civil rights attorneys at Krasner & Long, LLC, have argued that under the First Amendment, no one should be considered criminally responsible for an offense simply because he or she are gathered together or a member of a group that is there to hear another speak.
A Proposed Amendment to the Laws
Several council members are in favor of the proposed amendment to the legislation. The bill was drafted by a handful of officials from the Philadelphia Police Department as well as the Managing Director’s Office and the city Law Department.
Attorney Long of Krasner & Long, LLC, had this to say: “It allows police to take speakers and listeners into custody and clear the streets. After realizing that charges cannot stand under the Crimes Code because of the above clause, all that needs to be done to ‘justify’ the detainment is to issue a ticket under the ordinance.”
There has been evidence that other cities have previously held “special ordinances” for demonstrations, especially those that are political in nature, with certain restrictions. This is according to a 2013 National Lawyers Guild report. At this time, the bill is making its way around the city council, to reduce the penalties from criminal charges to a fine of $100.
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As civil rights attorneys in Philadelphia, our firm has been committed to protecting the rights of those who believe they have been wronged or have had their fundamental rights violated. We have more than 45 years of collective legal experience and have successfully handled more than 20, 000 cases. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our services, we are only a phone call away!