Occupy Cleveland protesters were arrested in October 2011, and those members sued the City to overturn the curfew on Public Square. This case could have an influence on the relationship between the City and homeless people. In the 1990s, Public Square had as many as 25 people who slept on one of the quadrants every night. This decreased dramatically after 2100 Lakeside shelter opened in 2000, and virtually disappeared after the curfew was passed in 2007. Now, the Ohio Appeals Court ruling this last month, homeless people could make the case that sleeping outside in the most visible place in the City is an act of protest against the lack of housing in the United States. They could legitimately say that they are going to sleep outside until the City begins to turn some of these vacant and abandoned buildings over to homeless people to fix up.
It's a monumental victory for Occupy Cleveland and other like-minded citizens who want to exercise their constitutional rights in an area that is dedicated to free speech," according to attorney for the Occupy Cleveland defendants J. Michael Murray.
We could not agree more and we thank the Occupy movement for pushing this case. Not a lot came out of Occupy, and in Cleveland the movement had a big black eye, but overturning this awful law is a victory. It is a restoration of free speech in Cleveland and a victory for the First Amendment.
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