Friday, March 30, 2012

NLG Lawyer


I talked to an NLG lawyer who has been doing "mass defense" for years.

It was very educational. I'm still mulling it all over. This may only be relevant for NY/NYC, but here's what I remember/from my notes...

If we (Protest Kid and I) march in the street, the police do not have to warn us that they are going to arrest us before they do.

If we march on the sidewalk during an unpermitted march (ie, all Occupy-instigated actions), it still isn't (legally) safe even if we stop at traffic lights.

I forget if it was only if the police got crazy and we got hurt, or even if someone just decided to be Bureaucratically Evil (tm) at us, but I could be charged with "neglect and abuse" for allowing Protest Kid to march with me. And if they were being Bureaucratically Evil on Steroids they could charge Protest Kid (he's only 7!) as a juvenile delinquent.


This was the lawyer's expert counsel, and his specialty is neglect and abuse cases, so this is the most extreme case and how to avoid it.

But he also pointed out (and I am shamefully paraphrasing and there were many significant pauses that I filled in with my own assumptions so don't sue anybody kthanxbai) that the police have gotten more... shall we say... unpredictable. So I can't rely on Protest Kid being obviously a kid and obviously adorable to protect him or the occupiers around him from police violence.


I have not yet decided what this knowledge means for me and my family going forward (and whatever pronouncement I make today could be vouchsafed by events tomorrow).

...but I thought this might be useful info for others. And hey, now *you* get to go through the whole cycle in private without a lawyer listening to your worldview crumble.

Yeah, I got to domy kneejerk terror "omgwtfbbq they want to take away my babeeeez?" and then my rage-y "How dare ANYONE suggest I'm a Bad Mother for exercising my first amendment rights and teaching my kid the same!" and then the whiney "But they're my riiiiights" with a highly educated audience.

"I'm sorry," I said to the lawyer near the end, "I'm having trouble assimilating this. I'm a white middle class girl, I'm not used to thinking of the police like this."

"Yeah," said the lawyer, "That's the sound of delusion popping."

But speaking of tomorrow/ the future, the NLG lawyer also suggested we put a list of "kids and protest" questions together and mail them to the NLG and they could find a lawyer who would be willing to speak to a group of us about these issues.

Are you excited? I'm excited! (gulp)

So right now I'm collecting questions. If you have a question, please tell me so I can write it down and submit it to the frightening but competent people at NLG.


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