The news is out: ] Dozens of New York City police officers charged into a group of people standing near an intersection in the West Village on Saturday evening and arrested several of them, in a chaotic scene that stunned outdoor diners and other onlookers.
Members of the group said they were walking toward a nearby police precinct to complain and stage a protest after officers had broken up an earlier demonstration at Washington Square Park.
As the group neared the precinct, officers confronted them at Hudson Street and West 10th Street. Videos of the police action circulated widely on Sunday, prompting sharp criticism from elected officials and activists and on social media that the officers had used unnecessary force.
Several members of the group appear to be filming the officers. An amplified voice can be heard saying that people cannot lawfully walk in the street or obstruct the sidewalk, before several officers suddenly rush across the street and begin arresting people in the group as other people scramble to get away from the area.]
It’s at the very beginning of the Constitution that no one reads.
The right to assemble allows people to gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. Implicit within this right is the right to association and belief. The Supreme Court has expressly recognized that a right to freedom of association and belief is implicit in the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Freedom of assembly is recognized as a human right under article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under article 20. This implicit right is limited to the right to associate for First Amendment purposes. It does not include a right of social association. The government may prohibit people from knowingly associating in groups that engage and promote illegal activities. The right to associate also prohibits the government from requiring a group to register or disclose its members or from denying government benefits on the basis of an individual’s current or past membership in a particular group. There are exceptions to this rule where the Court finds that governmental interests in disclosure/registration outweigh interference with First Amendment rights. The government may also, generally, not compel individuals to express themselves, hold certain beliefs, or belong to particular associations or groups.
The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through litigation or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government.