City curfew stands, countywide curfew ends

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While the city of Santa Clarita has imposed a 6 p.m. curfew Thursday, Los Angeles County officials have announced there will be no countywide curfew.

After an emergency meeting Wednesday, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to declare a local emergency and 6 p.m. curfew ahead of a rumored protest planned for Thursday.

Outside of the city limits in unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the county Board of Supervisors have said that a countywide curfew will not be planned, though municipalities within the county still have the legal authority to implement curfews for their jurisdictions and may do so. 

Villaneuva released a statement Thursday morning, stating, “Based upon current situational awareness and recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew.” 

That being said, within the city limits, law enforcement is still expected to do so, along with the planned appearance of the National Guard, which Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth confirmed had been requested by the city in anticipation of planned protests Thursday.

This comes after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the county because of the curfew orders.

The lawsuit, which states that the curfew violates the constitutional protections of free speech and freedom of movement of peaceful protesters, was filed in the U.S. District Court in L.A. on behalf of Black Lives Matter groups.

“The curfews’ extraordinary suppression of all political protest in the evening hours plainly violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and their blanket restrictions on movement outside working hours violate the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement,” the ACLU said in a statement.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said the countywide curfews were warranted Sunday and Monday in a social media post, adding “but now it seems like they are being used to arrest peaceful protesters. I don’t think they are needed anymore.”

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