Civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of a protester who was arrested and allegedly banned by police in Kansas City, Missouri, from participating in future protests or returning to the popular dining and shopping district where the protests were held.
The ACLU of Missouri and MacArthur Justice Center sued Kansas City, Missouri, police commissioners challenging what they call an unconstitutional verbal banishment order.
The lawsuit stems from a June 1 protest against police brutality and racial injustice at the Country Club Plaza during which Theresa Taylor and about 100 others were arrested. The lawsuit contends that when she was released on bail, police told her that if she returned to the Plaza she would be arrested and held without bail.
Police spokesman Jake Becchina declined to comment on the litigation.
“Kansas City Police’s order banishing Ms. Taylor from that area — for any purpose — is clearly unconstitutional,” Amy Breihan, co-director at MacArthur Justice Center, said in a news release. “And it also demonstrates law enforcement’s power to silence dissenting voices including and especially when those voices are raised in objection to police violence.”
A municipal charge alleging Taylor failed to comply with a police order to disperse was dismissed.