Is Mayor Warren’s anti-gathering emergency order legal? Civil rights attorney weighs in

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Mayor Lovely Warren’s anti-gathering emergency order to combat gun violence Wednesday raised a lot of questions, and a local civil rights attorney says while the order is constitutional, it does raise some concerns. 

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The mayor announced the order to stop groups of people from getting together on city streets and parks at night and ramp up police patrols, clamping down on outdoor and indoor gatherings from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day.

Civil Rights Attorney Jeff Wicks says the order mentions nothing about violence, so he calls the order itself confusing.

When Wicks first heard the announcement to impose a curfew and limit crowds to combat gun violence, he raised his eyebrow.

“There is not one word in the mayor’s order about it [violence], but there are several clauses that talk about the need to stop the spread of COVID and control people that aren’t wearing masks and are not social distancing, but it doesn’t say a thing about violence,” Wicks said Thursday.

When the local attorney read through the fine print, he concluded the mayor does have the power and constitutional right to impose this kind of rule, and can even make this permanent.

“The law does give her the power to do what she claims to do, but again, what is she claiming to do?,” Wicks questioned.

Wicks notes, this is a First Amendment issue which includes the ability to gather.

“I see nothing in the order itself that is unconstitutional because of what I told you, in other words, it addresses the worldwide pandemic,” Wicks said.

City officials say the mayor stands by her comments that the order is in place to combat gun violence.

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