Balancing Public Safety and Liberty

In preparation for the Democrats' convention the city council in Charlotte has passed a few ordinances that have some questioning if, in an effort to promote public safety, they've trampled on peoples' liberties:

People won't be allowed to carry items such as helmets and body armor; noxious substances; barricades, locks; pipes; mace or pepper spray; or other weapons.

In addition, the new ordinance prohibits people from carrying backpacks, satchels or coolers if police believe they are being used to carry weapons.

"They are frequently used to carry rocks and weapons," said CMPD Deputy Chief Harold Medlock, who is coordinating the police department's DNC response.

Medlock said during the 2008 DNC in Denver, some protesters would enter portable toilets and fill backpacks with feces, which were thrown at police.

The ACLU and others have been concerned that innocent people could be swept up in a police dragnet, such as people with bike helmets or people walking to work on Tryon Street with a briefcase. The ACLU has said the police can already stop someone if they have probable cause that a crime is taking place, and the group said it believes the ordinances are unnecessary…

(h/t to Ed Cone for the link)


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