A team of Morrison & Foerster attorneys assisted the ACLU Foundation of Northern California and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) in drafting a demand letter urging the City of Sacramento to drop all charges against individuals for violating the city’s June 1, 2020 curfew order. In response to the letter, Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood decided not to prosecute the 42 people who received curfew violation citations on June 1, reasoning that the city adopted the curfew roughly three hours before it went into effect. She has not yet decided if she will prosecute the remaining 24 people who were given curfew violations from June 2 through June 5.
The demand letter asserted that the curfew order violated freedom of speech and freedom of movement, contained insufficient notice, was unconstitutionally vague, and disproportionately harmed the Black community. The organizations stated that if the City of Sacramento refused to comply, they planned to fight against the enforcement of the unconstitutional order, and that “representation will be made available to every individual who received a citation.”
“The recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and so many other instances of violence against Black Americans have made it impossible to ignore the systemic racism in our country,” said Margaret Webb, who was part of the Morrison & Foerster pro bono team that advised in the drafting the demand letter, along with partner Eliot Adelson.
“People nationwide have responded to these horrific events by demonstrating peacefully against racial injustice and police brutality against Black members of our community, as a way of expressing their outrage and hurt,” she added. “The City of Sacramento should stand up for free speech and support Black activists by dropping all charges related to purported violations of the curfew order that served only to quell political protests.”