Civil Liberties Advocates Raise Concerns About Curfews Imposed Across Bay Area

Why a curfew.  Government says it is to protect us.  In fact, it is an announcement that government is too weak to stop crime, looting, burning and violence.  So instead of doing the job of government and protecting us, Mayors have put us under house arrest—for our own good.  LOL

“Civil liberties advocates, including a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, are pushing back against curfew orders imposed by more than a dozen jurisdictions around the Bay Area in response to property damage, thefts and assaults that have coincided with protests against police violence.

“I have not seen any evidence demonstrating an indefinite threat that justifies such indefinite restrictions on the rights of residents,” San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney wrote in a series of tweets that questioned both the practicality and constitutionality of the nighttime curfews declared over the weekend by Mayor London Breed.”

Just another example of how government is protecting crime, while controlling the af honest/innocent citizens.  We pay the price of wimps in government who refuse to do their jobs.

Civil Liberties Advocates Raise Concerns About Curfews Imposed Across Bay Area

Alex Emslie, Dan Brekke, KQED,   6/2/20  

Jun 2

Civil liberties advocates, including a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, are pushing back against curfew orders imposed by more than a dozen jurisdictions around the Bay Area in response to property damage, thefts and assaults that have coincided with protests against police violence.

“I have not seen any evidence demonstrating an indefinite threat that justifies such indefinite restrictions on the rights of residents,” San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney wrote in a series of tweets that questioned both the practicality and constitutionality of the nighttime curfews declared over the weekend by Mayor London Breed.

Haney’s comments came as the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California signaled that it may go to court to challenge the curfews, which Tuesday evening covered more than a dozen Bay Area jurisdictions home to 5.5 million people.

Resistance to the curfew orders took more concrete form on the sidewalk in front of City Hall Tuesday evening, as about 50 protesters refused to leave the area as the overnight edict took effect at 8 p.m.

“I feel like that’s going to be used to shut down everyone, not just the specific rioters,” said Ricardo Bravo, 21, who said he lives in Central California. “With that curfew, they could just come out here and arrest us.”

Police did not disperse the crowd at City Hall after 8 p.m., and most of the group then marched to San Francisco’s Hall of Justice, where they staged a sit-in. Police began detaining the group of about 30 demonstrators shortly before 10:30 p.m.

Breed resorted to the curfew after widespread looting and vandalism that followed demonstrations triggered by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

“To be clear, this is the last thing that I wanna do as mayor. I want peace, I want protest, but I don’t want the kind of violence and crime that we see playing itself across the streets of our city to continue,” Breed said when the curfew was first declared Saturday night. “And we have a responsibility to deal with it, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

But Haney questioned whether the curfews, enforced by a massive police presence, make sense for the city financially.

“Why hasn’t anyone else raised the issue of costs?” he asked. “Hundreds of officers arresting a handful of people for protesting at 8:15 p.m. is a MASSIVE cost, at a time when we are facing a $2 billion deficit.”

He also argued that the police don’t need the curfew to protect the city or its residents, despite the recent unrest.

“I understand there are some people who want to use this moment to wreak havoc, destruction, violence,” he said. “We reject that, entirely, and should prevent it. There are better, more targeted ways to do so while balancing civil liberties and civil rights. We can be better than this.”

Police Chief William Scott defended the curfews at a Board of Supervisors meeting held remotely Tuesday because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What it allows us to do is get out in front of it and be more proactive,” Scott told the supervisors, who must approve the curfew for it to continue indefinitely, as Breed has ordered.

Scott said most of the property destruction the city has seen since the protests began has taken place after nightfall. He argued that if San Francisco doesn’t maintain a curfew while surrounding jurisdictions do, that could make the city a target.

“Right now, we are still in the thick of things,” he said. He added that police expect a demonstration Wednesday that “may be volatile.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin questioned why the mayor had called for an indefinite curfew, instead of setting an end date as most cities and counties have done.

“I don’t feel like I want to sign a blank check,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said. “It’s frankly an extraordinary thing in our First Amendment-based society to do this.”

“This can’t go on for very long,” he added.

The board is scheduled to again discuss whether to approve the curfew on Thursday.

A similar discussion by the San Jose City Council on Tuesday ended with city officials deciding to lift a curfew there at 5 a.m. Thursday, with plans to revisit the decision on Friday.

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The ACLU of Northern California criticized the emergency measures, which ban most residents in the affected communities from leaving home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., as hasty and lacking clarity as to their scope and duration.

“Blanket closure of all public spaces gives police unfettered discretion, which has shown to lead to selective and biased enforcement, and high potential for the exact type of racialized abuses that are being protested,” the ACLU chapter said in a statement.

The civil liberties group’s Southern California chapter issued a more formal challenge to a curfew order imposed across Los Angeles County. In a letter, the chapter argued that the order violates state law by being overly broad — covering millions of people in areas where no unrest has taken place — and infringes upon First Amendment rights.

Oakland officials initially resisted instituting a curfew, but the city joined an Alameda County-wide emergency order on Monday.

“We’re very appreciative that the city has given us the tool of the curfew, simply really to interdict and abate that violence,” Oakland’s interim Police Chief Susan Manheimer said Tuesday afternoon.

“Where it crosses the line is when anyone tries to harm anyone else, including our officers who have been the target of significant rocks, bottles, Molotov cocktails and incendiary devices, and to gunfire,” Manheimer said. “We’ve had gunfire at our police building. We’ve had gunfire out on the streets.”

Others have pointed out that another problem with the curfews, aside from the constitutional and other problematic aspects, is that it’s subject to selective enforcement.

Journalist Shane Bauer offered this case in point, in which an African American man was arrested in Oakland on Monday after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect. Officers appeared to take him into custody because he had no media credential.

Bauer, who was standing next to the man and says he also had no media credential, was not accosted.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Interesting, where was the ACLU when the Governor issued his “stay at home” order? Suddenly they remember we have a 1st and 5th amendment?

    • Roy Finkelstein says

      Not to forget the 2nd? What happened to that one? We have rioting and looting in the streets and LE cannot get a handle on it. And I cannot go to an firearms dealer because they are closed. Of course, even if I had tried to purchase a handgun on the Labor Day when the whole mess started I could not have picked it up until…today! Good thing the liquor stores are allowed to be open…

    • Otis Needleman says

      My thoughts exactly.

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