It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Officials in St. Louis County have issued warrants for the arrest of at least 47 individuals charged in connection with the August 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, a Huffington Post review of court records has found. But the law that county officials are using to prosecute those protesters — some of whom were originally arrested while standing on the sidewalk — should have come off the books in 1987, when the Supreme Court struck down a similar ordinance as unconstitutional.
Last summer, just before the statute of limitations was set to expire, it issued new charges against at least 95 protesters under its “interference” statute, which makes it unlawful to “interfere in any manner with a police officer or other employee of the County in the performance of his official duties or to obstruct him in any manner whatsoever while performing any duty.”
The interference law, which is the target of an ongoing lawsuit, is almost certainly unconstitutional. It is strikingly similar to a ordinance struck down by the Supreme Court in 1987, when the high court ruled that the freedom to verbally oppose or challenge police action without risking arrest “is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.”
[A] federal judge found in October 2014 in a case that challenged the practices used by law enforcement agencies in Ferguson. The judge said that policymakers knew that such people couldn’t lawfully be arrested and that the policy “was being used against peaceful citizens,” but officials “did not stop the practice.”
Ferguson protesters who have warrants out for their arrest and are worried they may be jailed have another option: They can pay St. Louis County to recall the warrants.
That’ll be $300, please.
The county dropped those charges last month — after [WaPo and HuffPo reporters] Lowery and Reilly promised not to sue. Officials in the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office have made similar agreements to drop charges in exchange for commitments not to sue in at least two other cases.
People arrested in Ferguson should have been charged in the city’s own municipal court. But the county is prosecuting many of them in the St. Louis County Municipal Court [. . .]
[O]fficials in the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office play two sometimes-conflicting roles: They protect the local government from lawsuits, but also prosecute low-level cases in the equivalent of traffic court. That creates an incentive to bring low-level charges against people who might sue the county — charges that the county can then drop when plaintiffs agree not to sue.
The failure-to-disperse law was no longer going to work for that purpose. So the county changed its strategy [. . .] it issued new charges against at least 95 protesters . . .
originally posted by: Snarl
originally posted by: Sargeras
a reply to: Liquesence
I would just move away. And vote with my feet and my wallet.
For the people so charged ... it's unlikely they could afford to. And if they could, would you like them moving into your town?
Our government has institutionalized ways to make this a reality via laws and complex sentences that punish the poor more disproportionately than the wealthy.
It's a broken, racist and corrupt system
originally posted by: mikell
Sounds like our little small town. When the news investigated they were talking to a woman who had 24 parking tickets and all the things that keep rolling over. After the woman was done with her rant the reporter asked why she kept parking in handicapped spots and her reply was Why do youall have to act like that!
Mostly get what they deserve