Lawsuit Alleges Cincinnati Curfew Violated Free Speech, Equal Protection Rights

Two plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against the City of Cincinnati, alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments arising from the curfew the City recently imposed in light of ongoing protests against police violence and systemic racism. The plaintiffs state that they wanted to participate in the protests, but did not for fear of being subjected to arrest or injury due to police use of tear gas, pepper projectiles, rubber bullets, and other displays of force.

The City first implemented a curfew on May 30, 2020 in response to protests following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The lawsuit states that the curfew was a content-based restriction on free speech, and that it was also selectively enforced in the downtown area only in an effort to target protestors. The plaintiffs seek a declaration that the curfew violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and that the City Charter is barred by the preemption doctrine. They also seek an injunction against future curfews, and nominal monetary damages.

Additional Reading

Complaint, Graff et al. v. Cincinnati, filed June 3, 2020, via Justia Dockets

Photo credit: / Doris Pulliam