In support of Black Lives Matter and in protest of the murder of George Floyd by the police, protestors across the nation have taken to the streets to speak out against police brutality, civil rights violations, and racism. In response to the protests, there have been reports of police violence against protestors, curfews being put in place that have led to hundreds of arrests, and in some cases, there have been reported instances of further civil rights violations taking place in these protests. The Guardian reports that more than 10,000 people across the U.S. have been arrested during protests. Others have been hurt by rubber bullets, pepper spray, or have been cited while exercising their First Amendment rights.
What are your rights if you are protesting in Jackson, Mississippi? And what can you do if you are arrested during a protest? Ballard Law, PLLC is a criminal defense law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that works with individuals who have been arrested and those who believe that police may have violated their civil rights during an arrest. If your civil rights were violated, Ballard Law, PLLC may be able to fight the charges against you.
Your Rights as a Protestor in Jackson, Mississippi
The First Amendment protects individuals’ right to assemble peacefully, to protest, and to speak freely. There are, however, certain limitations that the police may be able to put in place if a protest poses a threat to public safety. The ACLU notes instances where protestors could potentially encounter police or face arrest during a protest, and offers guidance about what protestors can do if they encounter police or if they are put under arrest. If you are protesting on the street, on sidewalks, in front of government buildings, in a park, or in another public place, your First Amendment protections are strongest. If you are protesting on private property, the private property owner may have the right to ask you to leave. Protestors have the right to photograph and take video of a protest on public property. While individuals have the right to protest without a permit, there are certain situations where police may have the authority to disperse a protest. If a protest interferes with traffic, if there is a threat to public safety, or if police believe that a riot might take place, police have the right to disperse the protest. However, police must do so in a manner that gives you a fair chance to leave the situation. Police must tell protestors that a dispersal order has been issued, give protestors a fair amount of time to disperse, let protestors know how they can leave (and provide a free way for the protestors to leave) before any arrests can take place. If you believe you were wrongly detained, illegally detained, or illegally arrested while exercising your First Amendment rights, the criminal defense law firm at Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi may be able to assist you.
What to do If You Are Arrested or Detained During a Protest
Being arrested or detained during a protest can be incredibly infuriating and frightening. However, the ACLU offers some helpful reminders about what you should and shouldn’t do. What you should do:
- Remind officers that you are peacefully protesting and exercising your First Amendment rights.
- Ask officers if you are free to leave and if officers say yes, you can walk away.
- If you are under arrest, ask why.
- Remember that you have the right to remain silent and have the right to ask to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.
What you should not do:
- Resist arrest.
- Let officers delete photos or videos.
- Let officers view your photos or videos without a warrant.
If you are under arrest, remain calm. Don’t resist arrest. Remain silent. You have the right to ask to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. Ballard Law, PLLC is a criminal defense law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that may be able to help you with your case if you have been arrested at a protest.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer if You Have Been Arrested
If you have been arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, you are innocent until proven guilty. Ballard Law, PLLC is a criminal defense law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that can work with you to help you defend your rights and protect your innocence. Your right to protest is protected under the First Amendment. If you have been arrested, remain silent and ask to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. Anything you do or say could be used against you in court. Ballard Law, PLLC is a criminal defense law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that may be able to help you. Connect with our attorney today or reach out to USAttorneys.com to get matched with the criminal defense lawyer at Ballard Law, PLLC.