NYCkayaker right to assemble in NYC under attack by NYPD
Tue Nov 21 23:23:39 EST 2006
Right to assemble is under siege in NYC.
This proposed legislation applies to pedestrian and bicycles and all
human power vehicles. It could be spread to kayakers if they ever
decided to have a kayak protest . or large group paddle
Freedom to assembly is on the cutting board, unless you happen to be in
a car. For some reason even though vehicles kill over 200 pedestrians a
year in NYC , bicycles riding in a group , obeying traffic laws are
Our Rights Are Under Siege!
The rights to free speech and to freely assemble are under threat in
New Rules Could Go Into Effect By The End of This Year
Twice this year the NYPD has tried to create new draconian rules
dictating when people can peacefully assemble. A few weeks ago in late
October the NYPD announced the latest version of new rules they plan to
impose. You can read them HERE. These rules are not significantly
changed from rules the NYPD tried to sneak in during the summer, but
were defeated by public outcry in August. You can read that first
The Assemble For Rights coalition believes only the New York City
Council, as the representatives of the people, have the authority to
make laws affecting our fundamental rights, and we believe NYC needs new
public gathering rules! The city's current rules are not effective in
protecting civil liberties nor do they give the NYPD clear guidelines
for policing public events. We have put forward legislation: The NYC
First Amendment Act which will protect free speech while ensuring the
public safety. We urge the City Council to adopt it.
Help Spread The Word!
The press has been lazy in informing the public about the scope of the
NYPD proposed rules, and city council will not act unless they feel
compelled to do so. Please join us and help spread the word. On the side
panel of this website is a list of things you can do, and you can become
a member of the Assemble For Rights coalition by signing up here.
"We believe only the New York City Council, as the representatives of
the people, have the authority to make laws that affect our fundamental
freedoms. Assemble For Rights NYC has put forward legislation: The NYC
First Amendment Act, which is designed to safeguard the full expression
of our Constitutional rights while ensuring the public safety. We urge
the City Council to adopt it. Below is a summary of the legislation we
The NYC First Amendment Act is a proposed amendment to the section of
the City's Administrative Code which covers parade permitting. The Act
is modeled closely on the District of Columbia's First Amendment Act of
The Act makes it City policy to facilitate the rights of people to
organize and participate in peaceful assemblies, subject only to the
restrictions absolutely necessary to protect public safety. It provides
guidance for how the police are to handle public assemblies, whether or
not they have permits. It provides for orders to disperse as a last
resort, and requires that people be given both clear instructions and a
meaningful opportunity to disperse before they can be arrested for
failing to do so.
The proposed Act would eliminate "parading without a permit" as an
arrestable offense under City law. Currently the charge of "parading
without a permit" has often been leveled on people arrested in large
groups. The current charge is highly problematic in that it involves no
requirement of intent, it is a crime of strict liability. Meaning that
one does not have to intend to be part of a group to be violating the
law by 'parading'. The current law gives a dangerous amount of
discretion to police in arresting individuals who assemble regardless of
how they conduct themselves. The Police have other tools for dealing
with genuinely disruptive crowds, such as the disorderly conduct
statute, which prohibits both intentionally blocking traffic and
disobeying a lawful order to dispurse.
The Act removes the job of issuing permits from the exclusive control of
the NYPD. The current system has allowed the police to refuse to issue
permits to disfavored groups. The Act would give the power to issue
permits with the City Council, so that they could set up an appropriate
mechanism for issuing permits in a fair and even handed way. The council
could consult with the NYPD to whatever extent they felt appropriate.
More info at http://www.assembleforrightsnyc.org/
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