For immediate release: Monday, March 1, 2021
The ACLU of Minnesota opposes proposed Ordinance 21-6, which seeks to prohibit possession of certain items, and change other rules governing parades, races and public assemblies. As written, the ordinance will chill free speech and suppress public demonstration.
The following is a statement from ACLU-MN Community Engagement Director Jana Kooren:
“Proposed Ordinance 21-6 is overly broad, unnecessary and especially dangerous for Black, Brown and Indigenous communities who are already disproportionately harmed by criminalization, over-policing and police harassment.
By lowering the threshold for the size of a crowd from more than 25 people to 5, the ordinance will place onerous restrictions on many public gatherings that pose zero threat to traffic or public safety.
The City of Saint Paul may have written the ordinance with the intent to prevent potential violence and property damage during protests and demonstrations, but the ordinance is unnecessary. The city does not lack laws giving them the authority to shut down violent or dangerous situations; law enforcement has plenty of tools at their disposal already. We do not need a new, overly broad ordinance like this that would suppress protest and chill free speech.
Black, Brown and Indigenous communities are already overpoliced in Saint Paul, as they are throughout the state. These new restrictions would likely lead to even more enforcement directed at people of color, just for exercising their First Amendment rights. The ordinance would harm the same communities that have the most cause to protest police violence in the first place.
The ACLU of Minnesota is opposed to the proposed ordinance and asks that all of our allies and supporters call their city council members and ask them to vote against proposed Ordinance 21-6.”