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Service Employee International Union, Local 660 v. City of Los Angeles

July 20, 2000

SERVICE EMPLOYEE INTERNATIONAL UNION, LOCAL 660; D2K CONVENTION PLANNING COALITION; L.A. COALITION TO STOP THE EXECUTION OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL; NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD, LOS ANGELES CHAPTER; JENNAFER WAGGONER; AND TOM HAYDEN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, CHIEF BERNARD PARKS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT; COMMANDER THOMAS LORENZEN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT'S DNC 2000 PLANNING GROUP; AND THE LOS ANGELES POLICE COMMISSION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Gary Allen Feess United States District Court

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

I.INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

The 2000 Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place at the Staples Center, 1111 South Figueroa Street, from August 14 through August 17. For a period of time prior to and after the convention, the Los Angeles Police Department, in conjunction with convention planners, the United States Secret Service and other agencies, has designated a "secured zone" around the Staples Center, defined by Olympic Boulevard on the north, Venice Boulevard on the south, the Harbor Freeway on the west and Flower Street on the east - an area of more than 8 million square feet encompassing numerous streets, sidewalks and buildings.

North of Olympic Boulevard, some 260 yards from the entrance to the Staples Center, a small "protest" or "demonstration" site has been designated for use during the convention. Defendant City of Los Angeles defends the expansiveness of the "secured zone" and the location of the protest site on the basis of security concerns.

Plaintiffs consist of a number of groups who wish to engage in a variety of expressive activities during the convention including marches, speeches, picketing and leafletting. They contend that the "secured zone," and various permit schemes, deny them their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. They move this Court for a preliminary injunction: (1) barring enforcement of the "secured zone" as presently constituted; (2) ordering the defendants to issue permits to three different groups who wish to march during the convention; and (3) precluding enforcement of LAMC §103.111 and the "Permit Procedure for the Department of Recreation and Parks" during the pendency of the present action.

The Court has now read and fully considered all of the moving and opposition papers of the parties, the evidence and authorities cited therein, and the argument of counsel at the hearing on this motion. Based on the foregoing, the Court GRANTS the motion for the reasons set forth below.

II.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiffs' Planned Speech Activities

1. Service Employees International Union

The Service Employees International Union, Local 660 ("SEIU") is a labor union planning on holding a march and rally entitled "Fair Share for Los Angeles County's Working Families" on August 15. (Diener Dec., ¶¶ 5-7.)

2. D2K Convention Planning Coalition

D2K is a coalition of grassroots community groups who joined to coordinate a community response to the Democratic National Convention. (White Dec., ¶ 2.) D2K has applied for a permit to parade from Pershing Square to the corner of 11th and Figueroa Streets, as well as for a permit to use Pershing Square on August 14. (White Dec., ¶ 4-5.) The City has denied the request to use Pershing Square due to a previously scheduled event, but has granted the permit to march to 11th and Flower Streets (outside of the "secured zone"). The permit is conditioned on D2K paying fees to the Department of Transportation for installing parking restriction signs and traffic control devices, and informing the police and the Department of Transportation of D2K's alternative dispersal plan.

3. L.A. Coalition to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal

The L.A. Coalition to stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ("Mumia Coalition") is a non-profit organization protesting the death penalty generally and the scheduled execution of Abu-Jamal specifically. (Antouian Dec., ¶ 5.) The Mumia Coalition is planning on conducting a rally and march on August 13 from Pershing Square to the corner of 11th and Figueroa Streets. (Antouian Dec., ¶ 9.) The permit has been granted subject to the same conditions described above.

4. National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter

The National Lawyers Guild is a human rights bar association. (Lafferty Dec., ¶ 2.) The Guild plans on monitoring the DNC protests and offering legal services for people who are arrested. (Id.) Members of the Guild plan on participating in planned and spontaneous demonstrations. (Anderson-Barker Dec., ¶ 3.

5. Jennafer Waggoner

Ms. Waggoner is a community activist and editor of a street-newspaper called Making Change. (Waggoner Dec., ¶¶ 3-4.) The current issue of Making Change was produced with the specific purpose of distributing it to delegates at the Convention. (Waggoner Dec., ¶ 5.

6. Senator Tom Hayden

Senator Hayden is a delegate to the Convention who is interested in both seeing the demonstrations and participating in peaceful protests. (Hayden Dec., ¶¶ 2, 5-6.)

B. The "Secured Zone"

Concerned about the safety of the government officials, convention delegates and employees of the convention, the defendants have set up a "secured zone" which may only be accessed by people who possess a ticket issued by the Democratic National Convention Committee or those who possess a credential issued by the United States Secret Service. (Koerner Dec., ¶ 9.

The boundaries for the zone are: Olympic Boulevard on the north, Flower Street on the east, Venice Boulevard on the south, and the 110 Freeway on the west. (Vasta Dec., ΒΆ 7.) There will be a physical ...


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