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City Will Not Pursue Emergency Appeal Of Court Order Restricting NYPD Tactics At Republican National Convention

New York City today announced that it will not file an emergency appeal seeking to block a federal court order barring the NYPD from using certain tactics at large demonstrations, including those expected for the Republican National Convention. In a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union, federal District Court Judge Robert Sweet last month ruled that the NYPD could not unreasonably block access to demonstrations, could not confine demonstrators to “pens” (made of interlocking metal barricades), and could not search the bags of people trying to attend demonstrations without individualized suspicion or other probably cause.

As a result of today’s announcement by the City, Judge Sweet’s ruling will remain in effect through the Convention and most likely through this fall’s presidential election. These two events are likely to prompt many large demonstrations here in New York City, all of which will be subject to the court ruling obtained by the NYCLU.

“This decision is no surprise,” Christopher Dunn, the NYCLU’s Associate Legal Director. “The NYPD’s tactics were clearly unconstitutional and Judge Sweet’s ruling was clearly reasonable. We are pleased that the City has chosen to proceed with implementation rather than with further litigation.”

The NYCLU has secured permits for groups planning eight large demonstrations during the Convention and will have teams of legal observers monitoring law-enforcement actions at protests throughout the Convention. NYCLU monitors will be operating out of the NYCLU’s Protecting Protest Storefront on 520 Eighth Avenue just north of Madison Square Garden (212-629-3011).

Dunn said, “Through our legal monitoring teams, the NYCLU will be working to assure that the City is complying with the court’s order and respecting our right to protest. We look forward to working with the NYPD to make the City as welcoming for lawful protesters as for the Republicans.”

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