"Occupy Wall Street" and Protesters' Rights

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2nd week of Occupy D.C., in McPherson Square. The sign is almost completely faded.

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"Occupy Wall Street" and Protesters' Rights

This week hundreds of "Occupy Wall Street" protestors around the country have been arrested, sometimes clashing with police dressed in riot gear. We explore the laws that govern police actions and protester rights in Washington.

This week hundreds of "Occupy Wall Street" protestors around the country have been arrested, sometimes clashing with police dressed in riot gear. But protesters and police in D.C. have largely avoided the confrontations seen in other cities. We explore the laws that govern police actions and protester rights in Washington.

Guests

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Attorney, Partnership for Civil Justice

D.C.’s “First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act”

Following an investigation into police actions during anti-globalization protests, the D.C. Council passed the “First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004.” The law created a new set of guidelines for police activity during demonstrations, banning such practices as “kettling” or “trap and detain” actions. It also made it easier for protesters to acquire permits for demonstrations larger than fifty people, and allows smaller groups to demonstrate downtown without a permit. Current Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh helped draft the law as Special Counsel to the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee. In this 2005 academic paper, she describes “lessons learned” from the investigative process.

Related Images

NBC Washington's "Occupy D.C. in Pictures"

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.