The First Amendment protects the right to assemble and express your views through protest.
For many in Philadelphia in the past few days, that right has been challenged by failure to disperse and curfew violation arrests (even local journalists have been arrested “by mistake”) and tear gas and rubber bullets.
As the days of protest and unrest continue, the number of arrests, on those and other charges levied on those involved, will certainly increase.
With all that in mind, we’ve compiled a short list of bail funds that are helping protestors who have been arrested — nationally, regionally and locally — so you can share the information with people in need or so you can donate to them.
As always, with our resource lists, this is a work in progress. Please let us know if there are other organizations that should be on the list.
And, as a reminder, if you are arrested while protesting, these are your rights, according to the ACLU‘s “Know your rights” materials:
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- Stay calm. Make sure to keep your hands visible. Don’t argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you believe they are violating your rights. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions.
- Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly walk away.
- If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t say anything or sign anything without a lawyer.
- You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.
- You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. If you do explicitly consent, it can affect you later in court.
- Police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon and may search you after an arrest.
- Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they delete data under any circumstances. However, they may order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
What to do if you believe your rights have been violated
- When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
- Get contact information for witnesses.
- Take photographs of any injuries.
- Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
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