Protests that turn ‘unlawful’ could mean citations, charges

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The U.S. Constitution permits any individual to assemble or protest peacefully. Recent events have prompted a number of protests nationally and locally, which have also resulted in a number of arrests for unlawful protesting. What are the circumstances behind a protest that is declared an unlawful assembly, and what does that exactly means?

An unlawful assembly is defined as an assembly that consists of three or more people that develops into a disturbance of public order that could result in injury of persons or property.

The City of Green Bay has an ordinance that covers activities like blocking intersections, throwing items at police, motorists, and buildings under the unlawful assembly umbrella.

“Anyone who commits an act of vandalism in the course of a protest will be prosecuted,” said Andrew Smith, Chief of the Green Bay Police Department. Smith says that there are detectives within the Department that are working on open cases that have happened during recent protests.

“Just because the event is over, doesn’t mean someone won’t get arrested,” said Smith. Multiple arrests have been made that coincide with multiple charges.

Parents or guardians who allow a minor to engage in an unlawful protest could also face charges. Under the Green Bay City ordinance, that is defined at contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Parents or guardians are responsible for their children who are under the age of 17.

The punishment could range between a citation, and even jail time in some situations.

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