ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement addressing yesterday’s actions by Cranston police in ticketing individuals engaged in peaceful protest.

“Yesterday, Cranston police issued numerous citations to people exercising their right to free speech on roadway medians.

“The newly-adopted anti-panhandling ordinance under which a number of people were cited is, like the City’s previous ordinance which the ACLU successfully challenged, a clear violation of the First Amendment. We look forward to challenging it in court in the near future.

“Other protesters were charged with violating a totally irrelevant state law that bans the ‘cross[ing] of any freeway,’ and which is clearly not applicable to people using crosswalks to get to a roadway median. These citations are just another example of the City’s utter disregard for First Amendment rights and for the rule of law.”