Recent protests across the country have put a renewed focus on the legal consequences protestors can face from speaking out or demonstrating for their chosen cause. Protestors can be subject to unlawful detention, use of excessive force, and physical harm. The legal system can provide much-needed protection in these situations from informing protestors on their rights to civil attorney representation.
Unfortunately, many protesters remain unaware of their constitutional rights and avenues of recourse, such as the right to pro bono legal services, if they are mistreated during a protest. Lawyers across the country have stepped up to volunteer to represent protesters free of charge.
Avvo is committed to supporting all those who require legal assistance, regardless of their political views or immigration status. To work toward this goal, Avvo has developed a thorough resource page, Protest Injustice, with guidance on rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It includes information on several relevant laws enacted at both state and federal levels.
Below is some of the information available on this new resource to help protesters during this.
Featured articles and recently asked questions
On the Protest Injustice main page on Avvo, you can find a brief overview of the right to protest, as well as links to articles and legal guides that go deeper into this issue. From curfews to police misconduct situations in specific states, you’ll find a variety of resources to provide a solid start in your search for information.
The main page also includes a Q&A section where lawyers give detailed answers to questions about legal protections for protesters. If your most pressing questions have not yet been answered, feel free to ask them directly on this page.
Avvo 1-on-1: steps to take if you’re injured during a protest
Ample evidence suggests frequent use of excessive force by law enforcement during protests. Many protesters do not realize that recourse is available in those situations. Those who are willing to take legal action may be able to secure damages, but few know where to start.
This helpful installment of Avvo’s question-and-answer series featured on the page offers helpful advice from personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney David Joseph Schwaner for protesters who are unlawfully injured by police. He also discusses the considerations needed when looking to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Which law enforcement tactics violate protesters’ civil rights?
Many protesters struggle to distinguish between legal crowd control tactics and excessive force. This featured article highlights the many situations in which alleged efforts to keep the peace ultimately violate protesters’ constitutional rights.
The article goes into detail about the top court standards for determining the role of excessive force in a case. It also examines problematic law enforcement tactics such as kettling, arbitrary arrests, and arbitrary closures of public spaces. After reading this article, you’ll come away understanding when you can sue police officers and the challenges you might face along the way.
What are my rights while protesting?
Protesters enjoy the right to make their opinions known without suffering excessive force or unlawful arrest. However, as this featured legal guide explains, there’s no guarantee that police will uphold these rights. As such, it is imperative to understand which rights exist—and when they are violated.
The article offers an extensive overview of the many rights that protesters possess, as well as the limitations on those rights. It’s an important read—both before protesting and in the aftermath of suspected mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement.
As you get involved in protests, it’s crucial that you understand how you’re protected and what you might be up against. Knowledge is power.As a protester in today’s divisive environment, you’ll want to harness all the power you can get.