San Diego ACLU Statement on Occupy SD Arrests

Following is a statement from Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties regarding Occupy San Diego and the arrest of 51 Occupy San Diego protesters on October 28, 2011.

I spoke with Police Chief William Lansdowne this morning to express my concern over the arrest of the Occupy San Diego protesters who will be in jail for three to four nights unless they can afford to post bail. I urged the chief to drop the charges, release the protesters, and find an alternative space and way to accommodate overnight protest activity. Historically, the San Diego Police Department has managed protest activity exceedingly well with a focus on accommodation of speech in the broader public interest.

Overnight presence is fundamental to the political message of the Occupy San Diego movement. The Police and City officials should find a way to accommodate this expression and impose only those restrictions necessary to ensure that other public and civic activity can proceed unimpeded. This might mean finding an alternative location. For the future, the City should develop rules and a system for accommodating other overnight activities with a political purpose, which would include reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.


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