Lawsuit: Kansas City, Missouri, ordinances target protesters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Civil rights advocates sued Tuesday on behalf of three protesters who were arrested on charges of violating city ordinances during demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice in Kansas City, Missouri.

The lawsuit filed against the city by the ACLU of Missouri and the Stinson law firm comes amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Kansas City police have arrested more than 200 nonviolent protesters in May and June for violating these ordinances which criminalize the “failure to obey” law enforcement orders., the ACLU said in a news release. Among those arrested were Sariah Moody, Emily Cady and Grace Reading — the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.

“These vague ordinances are being used in a discriminatory manner to target protesters who are critical of Kansas City law enforcement. All people must be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to demand accountability for the police without facing arbitrary threats of arrest," said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.

The lawsuit contends these ordinances are unconstitutional as they give law enforcement unlimited power to silence speech and violate due process rights. The lawsuit asks the court to order the city not to enforce these ordinances.