Statement on Order Granting a Temporary Restraining Order in BLM v Seattle

News Release: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the City of Seattle from using chemical agents and other less lethal weapons against protests and demonstrations. Tear gas may only be used against a targeted individual after all other available options are exhausted, and no chemical irritants (pepper spray or tear gas) or projectiles may be deployed indiscriminately into a crowd. In issuing the order, Judge Jones stated that "plaintiffs have made a clear showing of a likelihood of success on the merits on their First Amendment claim,” and that “both testimonial and video evidence establish that SPD likely violated Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights." The TRO will last for 14 days, while court proceedings in the lawsuit, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County v. City of Seattle, continue.

Michele Storms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Washington had this reaction:

“We are pleased that the court is preventing Seattle from using chemical agents and less lethal weapons against demonstrators. The City must allow for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and it must address police accountability and excessive use of force. It is impossible to expect progress if the city continues to attempt to silence protestor demands with excessive force.”

Robert Chang, Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center had this reaction:

“We know what happens when people don’t speak out against government wrongs. Here, people are speaking out against police brutality against Black people that has gone on for far too long. This TRO recognizes that it is crucial to our democracy for people to be able to protest without fear of state violence. Maybe then, change will come.”

David A. Perez, partner at Perkins Coie LLP has this reaction:

“Today is a big win for justice and our core values. The First Amendment is sacrosanct in our constitutional system.  The protesters in Seattle have a right to exercise those rights without fear of our own City government directing violence against them.”