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Is a proposed item ban at public demonstrations in LA a city overreach?

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" exchange vollys of pepper spray with counter-protesters as they enter Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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In response to violent protests in Charlottesville and Berkeley, Los Angeles Councilman Mitch Englander has proposed city restrictions on items people can bring into public demonstrations.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, prohibited items would include plastic bottles containing alcoholic, non-consumable, toxic waste or flammable liquid, as well as pepper spray, drones, wooden planks and improvised shields. The proposal is on its way to city attorneys who are drafting the new law before final approval. When Englander amended the proposal during Tuesday’s council meeting, he said that police recommendations could determine other items added to the ban.

Civil rights attorney Carol Sobel challenged the legality of the ban for blocking items from protests that are otherwise permitted. Sobel said that prohibiting shields would make it easier for police to injure protesters.

American Civil Liberties Union senior staff attorney Peter Bibring questioned drones as part of the ban. He said drones are sometimes used to document protest turnout.

Larry speaks to Englander and UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh today for more details on the pros and cons of a potential ban.


Mitch Englander, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing District 12, which comprises the Northwest San Fernando Valley

Eugene Volokh, professor of law at UCLA