FERGUSON, MO (WAFF) - Two Federal Lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Missouri accusing law enforcement of civil rights violations. The filings name the County of Saint Louis, the City of Ferguson, and Ronald Replogle the Superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
One lawsuit states members of law enforcement interfered in the plaintiff's right to record interactions between police and demonstrators. It goes on to say the plaintiff had to choose between "surrendering his First Amendment right to record the actions unfolding on the street before him" or risk arrest or bodily injury. The man continued recording, but the lawsuit does not address the consequence of that decision.
The lawsuit requests a federal judge issue a restraining order to prevent law enforcement from ordering citizens and members to stop recording on the streets and sidewalks of Ferguson.
The second lawsuit challenges the practice of making demonstrators walk, instead of gathering on public sidewalks. This lawsuit states the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is receiving reports that law enforcement in Ferguson forced demonstrators to move after standing more than five seconds on a public sidewalk. The lawsuit goes on to say the reports began coming into the office around 11 a.m. on Aug. 18.
The lawsuit states that when questioned about the policy, "the officers indicated that they did not know and that it did not matter. The officers further indicated they were following the orders of their supervisors, whom they refused to name."
Once the first lawsuit was filed, law enforcement and the filer came to the agreement that police would not interfere with recording the protests.
Law enforcement arrested several people for failure to disperse on Aug. 18 and 19. Robert McCoy of Huntsville, Alabama was one of the demonstrators arrested just before midnight on Aug. 18.