County, Police Broke Law by Blocking Residents From Government Center, Attorneys Say




On Friday, the morning after Mayor Carlos Gimenez kowtowed to Donald Trump's demand that Miami stop protecting undocumented immigrants, a crowd descended on County Hall to protest. That's a pretty normal occurrence in America, where residents have the right to tell their elected leaders they're wrong.

What the crowd found at County Hall that morning was far from normal, though: The public building was on virtual lockdown. Police had cordoned off streets for blocks — even shuttering the nearby Metromover stop — and wouldn't allow anyone to enter. Even U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison was briefly detained outside the locked doors.

To the protesters, it seemed a huge overreaction to a relatively small, peaceful crowd. In fact, the extreme lockdown of a public facility was an unconstitutional breach of the First Amendment, says a group of local attorneys in a letter sent to the county mayor and other officials.

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