What you need to know to safely protest in NYC

What you need to know to safely protest in NYC

New Yorkers are making ready to protest police violence in response to the killing of Tyre Nichols, a Black man brutally overwhelmed by 5 cops following a site visitors cease in Memphis.

The Memphis Police Division will launch bodycam footage of his loss of life on Friday night time. Already, that metropolis’s police chief has described the Memphis officers’ actions as a “failing of basic humanity.” They have been charged with murder and fired.

Protests are planned for 7 p.m. in Times Square and Union Square. Additional demonstrations are likely.

Here’s what New Yorkers should know as they prepare to demonstrate.

You have the right to demonstrate

It’s your right to be out there protesting. That’s protected by the U.S. Constitution.

But there are limits. While protesters do not need a permit to march on the sidewalks, they may be required to secure one to go into the streets, use “amplified sound” like speakers or a megaphone, or gather in a public park, according to a Know Your Rights guide issued by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“The NYPD can enforce regulations if the demonstrations are in the street blocking traffic without a permit,” said NYCLU senior organizer Isabelle Leyva, who runs the organization’s protest monitoring program.

If police order demonstrators to disperse, they are supposed to provide “clear notice and an opportunity for you to leave the area,” according to another guide from the Legal Aid Society.

That doesn’t always happen. During the 2020 uprising in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, NYPD officers corralled demonstrators and made violent mass arrests — a tactic known as “kettling” — in the Bronx.

Keep in contact

If you’re heading to a demonstration, Leyva urges keeping in contact with someone who isn’t present and has your full name and date of birth.

“Check in every 30 minutes with someone who is not there, and if that person doesn’t hear from you, they can follow up,” she said.

That way, a friend or a loved one can more easily find out if you have been arrested and are awaiting arraignment.

Jennvine Wong, an attorney with Legal Aid’s Cop Accountability Project, also recommended attending demonstrations with a “buddy” and sticking collectively all through the demonstration.

Write a cellphone quantity in your physique

And whereas you’re at it, Wong says, write the cellphone quantity for a good friend, member of the family or authorized help group someplace in your physique, simply in case you get arrested.

“Everyone is so reliant on their cellphones so no one remembers anybody’s number by heart,” she mentioned.

That’s an issue if you get arrested and lose entry to your contacts checklist. She recommends writing the variety of a good friend or the hotline for the Nationwide Attorneys Guild New York Metropolis Authorized Assist Hotline, (212) 679-6018, in your arm.

Protest organizers will usually notify the NLG about upcoming demonstrations so they’re conscious of the potential for arrests and may monitor arraignments, Wong added.

‘Am I being arrested?’

If a police officer stops you, ask them that.

If the reply is “no,” then you can stroll away, mentioned Wong.

You even have the correct to ask for an officer’s identify and badge quantity and to refuse to consent to a search.

Keep silent

Wong mentioned if you are arrested, your subsequent assertion needs to be: “I want to speak to a lawyer.”

After that, you don’t have to speak. However exercising your “right to remain silent” is commonly simpler mentioned than carried out, mentioned Wong.

“Humans are social beings and we want to offer information, but when it comes to your legal rights, it’s better to stay silent than to try to talk your way out of a situation,” she mentioned.

Don’t resist

Demonstrations may be unpredictable, and so can the response from police and even onlookers and counterprotesters.

If you are being arrested, don’t give police an opportunity to accuse you of resisting, Wong mentioned.

“That can and often does lead to more violence from police,” she mentioned.

Folks of shade are at a larger threat of arrest and violence at demonstrations, mentioned Leyva. “In our documentation we’ve seen bias against people of color, particularly at social justice protests,” she mentioned. “The only thing you can control in an interaction with police is your behavior.”

Securing your cellphone

Unlocking your cellphone with Face ID or a thumbprint could also be handy, nevertheless it additionally makes it straightforward for police to entry your gadget.

Wong recommends reverting to a numerical passcode if you’re going to be out protesting.

“Fourth Amendment law is on more solid on that ground [with passwords],” Wong mentioned. “It would be an interrogation if officers try to force you to give up a passcode.”

That’s not essentially the case with a cellphone they may maintain up to your face to unlock, she added.

And don’t agree to unlock your cellphone, the Authorized Assist information recommends.

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