In August attorneys for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis and the City of Ferguson signed an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri stating that protesters and the media had the right to record law enforcement offices. But, that agreement was disregarded many times in the last few months so the ACLU went back to court last Friday and filed a preliminary injunction. Today United States District Judge John A. Ross granted three court orders against the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis and the City of Ferguson.
“We are pleased that there are court orders requiring the police to respect the First Amendment rights of journalists,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “With court orders in place, immediate recourse will be available if the freedom of the press is violated.”
On Nov. 18, U.S. District Court Judge Rodney W. Sippel entered a consent judgment forbidding the Board of Election Commissioners from confiscating campaign materials. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri had filed a civil rights lawsuit Oct. 30 on behalf of Jennifer Florida, a candidate for St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds.
Florida, a life-long Democrat, was appointed Recorder of Deeds for the City of St. Louis in July when the position became vacant. She decided to run for the position on the Nov. 4 ballot. Because the deadline to participate in the primary election had already passed, Florida ran as an independent Democrat and appeared on the Nov. 4 ballot as an independent. Some election judges seized her campaign materials on Election Day.