A federal judge ruled on Monday that a policy which forces demonstrators in Ferguson to stay in motion or face arrest hampers a citizen’s right to protest. In her preliminary injunction against what the ACLU billed as the “5-Second Rule,” Judge Catherine D. Perry said “the practice of requiring peaceful demonstrators and others to walk, rather than stand still, violated the Constitution.”
The ACLU spearheaded the lawsuit on behalf of protesters, many of whom have taken to the streets of the small town since Mike Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU’s Missouri division, tells Mashable that hundreds of people “gave up the right to protest by leaving the scene, or kept moving to obey the rule.”
A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police said that the Department “understands, respects, and will fully comply with Judge Perry’s decision.” Like a wounded little boy, he added that they didn’t want to use that stupid rule anyway, “It will not affect our plans as we were not going to use it going forward.”
The judge’s decision comes at a particularly tense time in Ferguson as citizens await a grand jury decision on whether or not Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted for the homicide of Mike Brown. That ruling was said to be coming in mid-October, but now authorities have hinted that it could be longer.
There have been reports that the military are being readied for riots in the event that no indictment materializes, and officials have denied reports that they are working on an evacuation plan. Dhoruba Shakur a St. Louis resident, tells USA Today that an indictment of Wilson won’t stop the protests.
“Darren Wilson getting indicted would be a win for us, and that would definitely get more people to join in the fight with us on the ground,” he said. “But in the endgame, Darren Wilson being arrested for a crime committed in Ferguson, Mo., is not going to do anything for the systemic issues that everybody deals with in America.” (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)