ACLU suing Cambridge for charging free speech organizers thousands of dollars

Hampshire County

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is suing the city of Cambridge for charging demonstration organizers thousands of dollars for public safety services.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Massachusetts Peace Action and Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund helped plan a Women’s March in January, but say after the event, they were billed for police details and paramedic services.

According to Bill Newman of the ACLU of western Massachusetts’ regional office director, the city is only allowed to impose time, place and manner restrictions. Those restrictions are to accommodate, things such as public convenience and traffic flow.

“The idea that a city or town in Massachusetts would impose a fee, a tax, a burden on free speech, really has to be scary for everyone who cares about freedom and democracy,” Newman told 22News.

The ACLU argues the fees amount to an unlawful tax.

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