“The ACLU of Colorado is paying close attention to the deliberations of the Boulder City Council around what it calls ‘social misbehavior.’ We strongly discourage the Council from adopting any measures that target the vulnerable by redefining otherwise legal behavior as criminal or that attempt to limit access and enjoyment of public spaces to those in the community that the Council deems ‘respectable’ and worthy of the privilege.
“Transients, panhandlers and people of all types have been part of the Downtown Boulder scene for its entire history.
“Now the city has proposed new restrictions, ordinances, arrests, prosecutions, jail sentences and exclusion orders targeted at an ill-defined population that includes homeless, transient, and other vulnerable individuals on the municipal campus.
“Contrary to the city’s contention that these measures are necessitated by criminal behavior, data provided to the Council by the City Manager shows that the majority of arrests on the municipal campus were for technical rule violations that had no effect on the public’s ability to enjoy the space. Yet many of the proposals before the Council would unjustly criminalize more activities and create more violations and arrests, seemingly to make life so difficult for targeted members of the community that they are driven out of the space.
“The ACLU of Colorado and its Boulder County Chapter oppose new laws that restrict peaceful activity and that provide tools for selective and arbitrary enforcement that threaten the rights of free speech, association and to simply be left alone and enjoy public spaces free of police harassment.”