Judge rules 90 Occupy Chicago arrests unconstitutional - FOX 32 News Chicago

Judge rules 90 Occupy Chicago arrests unconstitutional

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Cook County judge has ruled the arrests of more than 90 Occupy Chicago protesters last October were unconstitutional.

The arrests came after hundreds of members of Occupy Chicago refused to take down tents and leave Grant Park when it closed at 11 p.m. But Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly tossed out the arrests Thursday, ruling the city often chooses not to enforce the curfew for events it supports. He ruled the arrests unconstitutional, because on other occasions, like President Obama's election night rally, police had ignored similar curfew violations.

As to the Occupy protests, the judge said, "The police would promulgate a rule; when the protesters would comply, the police would change the rule."

Attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild who represent the protesters said the ruling "sends a clear message" that the city must respect First Amendment rights. Occupy protestors complained that the city's curfew is itself unconstitutional and that it was also applied unfairly against them. They won on both counts.

"The city rounded these people up as criminals, treated them as criminals, put them in the back of police wagons," defense attorney Sarah GelsOmino explained.

While some protestors still point to that night with pride, they've been fighting ever since to have their cases thrown out.

City officials declined to discuss the ruling on camera, but released a statement saying they will appeal and that the curfew will continue to be enforced because it helps protect public health and safety.

The protesters were an off-shoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement and were demonstrating against corporate greed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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