A PETITION IN SUPPORT OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF THE “OCCUPY ALBANY” DEMONSTRATORS
Regarding the “Occupy Albany” demonstrators who have gathered in Academy Park in downtown Albany this past week to protest what they believe are grievous economic and political injustices in the United States;
We, the undersigned, are writing to defend their right to free speech and free assembly, rights the founders of our nation wrote into the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because they believed such rights were fundamental to a just and successful democracy, and;
We also applaud the restraint shown by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Police Chief Steven Krokoff and other city and state police officers during the occupation and for the wisdom they showed in resisting the political pressure applied to arrest demonstrators and sweep them from the park, and we also commend Albany County District Attorney David Soares for making it clear that his office would not prosecute trespassing related to a peaceful protest, as such charges are generally dismissed in City Court, and;
As such a crackdown would be antithetical to the protesters' First Amendment rights; and given the civility of the protesters, and that they include both children and the elderly, a crackdown would also seriously undermine the progress Mayor Jennings and Police Chief Krokoff have made to build a police force that works with and for our community, not against it, and;
An unconstitutional crackdown could also result in physical removal of these lawful demonstrators by Albany Police Officers creating a risk of injury to all involved; and it could also risk a future lawsuit against the city for a violation of free speech and assembly. For these reasons, we ask that the Mayor and Albany’s police force to continue to show their good judgment and respect for the democratic political process.