Police cannot force peaceful protesters to ‘keep moving‘, because it violates their constitutional rights, a federal judge said Monday.
Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry ruled that the militarized police force in Ferguson violated the constitutional rights of journalists and protesters by forcing them to walk to keep people in constant motion.
“Practice of requiring peaceful demonstrators and others to walk, rather than stand still, violates the Constitution,” she said before issuing a preliminary injunction banning St. Louis County Police and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers from ordering protesters to ‘keep moving‘.
“The evidence from plaintiff’s witnesses shows that the police, including those from St. Louis County, told many people who were either peacefully assembling or simply standing on their own that they would be arrested if they did not keep moving. Some law enforcement officers told people that they could stand still for no more than five seconds. Others gave instructions that people were walking too slowly, or that they could not walk back and forth in a small area. Some law enforcement officers did not make people keep moving, others did. Some officers applied the strategy to reporters, others did not. Many officers told people who were standing in small groups on the sidewalks during the daytime hours that they would be arrested if they did not keep moving,” said Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry.