Laguna Beach bans items perceived as weapons at political rallies – Orange County Register

LAGUNA BEACH — Protesters will be cited for a misdemeanor if police find them in possession of such items as metal pipes, metal beverage containers, containers with bio-hazards, lumber, bricks, rocks, pepper spray or ice picks at a rally or political assembly at a city park or beach, officials say.

The City Council approved the emergency ordinance — a first for Orange County — on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The unanimous vote was in response to an Aug. 20 America First! rally at Main Beach that drew more than 2,300 people.

Police said they determined that some protesters were carrying daggers, pepper spray and chains — all items that could be used as a weapon to incite violence. Four people were arrested following the rally.

“We had people with flags on poles,” Laguna Beach police Chief Laura Farinella told the council. “At the end of the stick, they had sharp spear-like objects covered by cork. When they felt threatened they could take that off.”

“You can voice your First Amendment right but you don’t need to arm yourself with something to do it,” she said.

The council agreed that the ordinance should go into effect immediately.

City officials said they want to step up protection for the community and law enforcement in anticipation of more protests and rallies and the violence that could come from them.

Article Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *