Several thousand people took to the street in the Financial District to identify and protest against Wall Street’s central role in fueling climate destruction. At the end of the day, 102 people were arrested for sitting in the street at the intersection of Broadway and Wall. Ten of the arrestees subsequently decided to fight their charges in court.
And yesterday, these 10 were found “not guilty” by New York City Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum. According to Flood Wall Street, Judge Mandelbaum ruled that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) order to disperse violated the First Amendment. In his ruling, the judge also found “that by ordering protesters to leave the entire Wall Street area, police violated protesters’ First Amendment right to carry their message directly to its intended recipients: the Wall Street bankers who bankrollclimate change.”
Defense Attorney Jonathan Wallace successfully argued that the Constitution protects Americans’ rights to “express political speech within proximity to the target of the protest.
That is a victory in and of itself for the 10 individuals, as well as, the general American public and its right to protest. But the judge went even further “
The ruling sets an important legal precedent in recognizing the constitutional legitimacy of mass civil disobedience actions protesting climate change, according to Flood Wall Street. The 10 defendants gave passionate testimony to the court, “affirming that their actions were justified.”
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