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“Hear Me Out”: The Rights of a Protester

The George Floyd case has gained recognition and followers across the nation, by individuals who are seeking to make right what was done wrong. People have gathered together in the hopes that their voices will help get some type of justice for George Floyd, who was killed by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Park Police Department. Online petitions for additional charges, and law reform, along with fundraisers for the family and jailed protestors have been shared across all social media platforms. If you or someone you know has been arrested or questioned due to protests incited by the death of George Floyd, please contact an attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. in Tampa to get additional information on your rights as a protestor.

There is a great history of individuals who have gathered together in hopes to create a wave of change, oftentimes successfully. In March of 2012, the Million Hoodie March was formed after the killing of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty after claiming it was an act of self-defense, shot him on February 26th, 2012. More recently, in 2017 on Donald Trump’s first day of presidency, the Women’s March took a stand in advocating for women’s rights. It is estimated that 500,000 people attended in Washington, and roughly 400,000 appeared in Trump’s hometown of New York.

One of the more violent protest turned riots occurred at Attica Correctional Facility. Inmates, outraged by over crowding and insufficient living conditions, took 39 guards hostage over the course of four days. Unfortunately, 10 guards and 29 inmates died, and Attica is still famously known for its appalling living arrangements.

Hear us out! Before creating or going to a protest, know your rights as a protestor. The First Amendment does protect our rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, as citizens of the United States. It is recommended that you obtain a permit for your protesting event, even if you’re just going to be walking on the streets or sidewalk. You will need to contact your city official or visit the official website in order to view additional information on instructions for your permit. Your permit cannot be denied due to controversial nature.

According to Chapter 871 of the Florida Statutes, you cannot have protests activities within 500 feet of a cemetery, funeral home, or church, one hour before or after a funeral has happened. If you do, you would be committing a misdemeanor in the first degree., punishable with up to one year of prison. Private property owners are also afforded the right to set rules on their own property, and it should be respected as such. If done, this could lead to a misdemeanor in the second degree, punishable with up to 60 days in prison.

If you are attending a protest in Tampa and an officer approaches you, stay calm. If you are not under arrest, calmly walk away. If you are under arrest, you have the right to ask why- otherwise, remain silent until an attorney is present. You are afforded the right to make a local phone call, where it is recommended you contact an experienced lawyer. Make sure you are making a mental or physical record of what is going on, such as an officer name, badge number, and photographs of any injuries you may have gotten.

For clarification on any of the above information, contact a Tampa lawyer at Pallegar Law, P.A. As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to both free speech and an attorney at any given time. Please stay informed and safe.

Contact a Tampa Lawyer for More Information

If you have been charged in relation to the protests incited by the death of George Floyd, your reputation, employment, and family could be negatively affected. Contact an aggressive Tampa attorney who can help you fight the charges and get the defense you deserve! Call 813.444.3912 to schedule your free consultation.

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