Did Occupy Wall St Weaken Human Protest and Assembly Rights?

Charlotte School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic participated in a Protest and Assembly Rights Project led by legal clinics from major national law schools, and the resulting report provides damning commentary on the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The 132 page report focuses on rights violations by the New York City police. These widespread violations include excessive force, unlawful closure of parks and sidewalks to protestors and the consequent restriction of free movement through public space, intimidation of protestors, abuse of journalists, and unjustified arrests.

“The study uncovered some unsettling truths about gradual loss of US citizens’ constitutional protections,” said Charlotte School of Law student, Evan Carney. “We are delighted our law clinic participated in this trailblazing study. Our students’ practice-readiness increases through active contribution to projects like this while the civil rights aspect of the study may increase our legal scholars’ desire to serve underserved populations.”

The eight-month study explores the history of assembly and protest rights and the obligation of a just state to protect those rights, not infringe or curtail them. The study examines the government’s mandate to investigate infringement s and to remedy them.

The joint project, Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violation in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street explores the U.S. government’s response to the Occupy Wall Street Movement with regard to international legal obligations. A national consortium of law school clinics from NYU, Fordham, Harvard, Stanford, Rutgers-Newark, Charlotte, and Loyola-New Orleans participated.

The report investigates a clear pattern of abusive policing of the Occupy Wall Street protests and alleges that the repeated violations of national and international assembly rights have effectively eroded protest and assembly rights. The report contains in depth documentation and analysis of the human rights violation by the NYC police. However, to date, only one police officer is known to have been subject to any disciplinary action regarding the widespread misconduct during Occupy Wall Street policing.
Additional reports are still underway and these will focus on the responses in Charlotte, Oakland, Boston, and San Francisco.

Charlotte School of Law provides for different law study program potions such as part-time day and evening Juris Doctor programs targeted towards working professionals, a full time Juris Doctor program, and a joint J.D./MBA degree with UNC-Charlotte. The school claims a student-centered curriculum that focuses on experiential education designed to improve graduate outcomes. This experiential education centers around hands-on learning experiences designed to equip the graduate with leadership, management and interpersonal skills, so helping them bridge the gap between legal education and practice.

08 22, 2012
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