STATEMENT BY THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF MINNESOTA, CHIEF PROGRAMS OFFICER BEN FEIST, IN RESPONSE TO CHAUVIN TRIAL POLICING PLANS:
"As the state and the city of Minneapolis plan for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota expects public officials and law enforcement to make space for protest and to ensure that protest rights are respected.
The right to protest is a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment. Law enforcement’s main job in a protest is to protect the safety of protesters and to de-escalate any threat of violence.
Last summer, we instead saw people who protested police violence and the murder of George Floyd be treated with police violence themselves. There is no room or tolerance for that escalation by police. In response, the ACLU of Minnesota sued law enforcement over its mistreatment of protesters and journalists. We also have longstanding concerns about the ever-increasing militarization of police.
Our city and state officials should celebrate the fact that people are getting out in the streets and making their voices heard, voicing their dissent and creating change, rather than creating plans that preemptively view community members and future protesters as the enemy. As the trial nears, we expect that our elected officials will create a plan that respects the rights of a free press and of assembly before, during and after the trial of Derek Chauvin, and ensures that any enforcement is neither selective nor biased against BIPOC people, as is so often the case in our legal system."