Anarchy in the Streets: ACLU Leader Claims There's No Such Thing as Illegal Protest
How about duly appointed government officials? What's the alternative? What would Samuelson consider appropriate? One officer to ten protesters? One to a hundred? What standard would Samuelson employ? How are law enforcement agencies supposed to know what resources they'll need when responding to a mob that is actively breaking the law?
Zerwas addressed the added expense of uncertainty in his reasoning for the restitution bill. Groups who hold lawful demonstrations are frequently required to cover the cost of security, sanitation, and related expenses. Why should agitators organizing unlawful assemblies get off without paying something? Zerwas expounds:
In Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington, over the last twelve months, we've had $2 million in cost to respond to these [unlawful] protests. Now my point is: if those individuals had said, "We want to demonstrate. We're going to shutdown this road [legally]. We need a permit," those [law enforcement] costs would have been defrayed. Instead, they do it illegally. They unlawfully assemble. Their intent is to disrupt and shut things down. And that cost is pushed onto homeowners, because local law enforcement agencies are paid for through property taxes that fund cities.
I personally believe, if someone wants to go and stop people from accessing the Minneapolis airport [as Black Lives Matter did just before Christmas in 2015]... or with the intent of shutting down the Mall of America, I don't believe - personally, fundamentally - that a husband and wife and their two kids should pay for that through their property taxes. I shouldn't have to pay for you breaking the law.
That proves especially true when those breaking the law do so with the express intent of overwhelming the system. That's what "shutting down" means, creating an unmanageable disruption that exceeds the capacity of law enforcement. We're talking about protests thus designed to abuse the taxpayer, along with a list of other victims.
Samuelson tipped his hand when asked whether there is any type of protest which should be illegal. After pausing to consider, he answered, "I don't think so." In other words, in his mind, there is no conduct which ought to be prohibited if done in the name of a cause. That's a ludicrous position, both legally and morally. Nevertheless, it's the position of the head of the ACLU in Minnesota. It's the position of Black Lives Matter. And it's the position of many throughout the culture who romanticize protest to a fault, elevating it above any other consideration, including the rights of others.