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The First Amendment During A Time Of Civil Unrest: Protecting Protesters And Journalists

Elaine Thompson
AP Images
A Seattle police officer yells out orders at Seattle City Hall as protesters march toward them Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.


Since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis two weeks ago, protests demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice have swelled across the country. Of course, the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government are both protected rights under the First Amendment.

But even while protesters chant “black lives matter,” video footage from bystanders has shown some police officers using harmful and potentially deadly means to disperse the crowds and enforce curfews, injuring many around the country. 


And another clause of the First Amendment, the freedom of the press, has similarly been under attack. According to their website, US Press Freedom Tracker has counted more than 300 press freedom violations during the George Floyd protests. There have been accounts of police violence against journalists in Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, Louisville, Washington DC and more. 


Joining Idaho Matters now to talk more about the fight to protect the First Amendment during a period of civil unrest is communications strategist Jeremy Woodson of the ACLU of Idaho.

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

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Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.