Guidelines for Public Demonstrations under the First Amendment
The Chandler Police Department’s mission is to provide a safe community where people can live, work, and thrive. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety, security, and constitutional rights of everyone in our community.
When we work with groups before demonstrations, our community’s safety is improved, and everyone plays a shared role in the safety effort. Our department is willing to work closely with organizers to make sure their voices are heard, their rights are not infringed upon, and the entire group remains safe as they peaceably assemble in First Amendment-related activities. We believe an ongoing dialogue helps prevent issues before they arise and deal with issues that may occur during a demonstration.
The purpose of these guidelines is to inform the public about their respective rights and responsibilities during public demonstrations.
Persons and groups engaging in First Amendment related activities have the legal right to:
- Organize and participate in peaceful assemblies, including demonstrations, rallies, parades, marches, or other similar gatherings.
- Conduct these assemblies or gatherings in a designated public area.
- Express their political, social, or religious views.
- Freely associate with other individuals and collectively express, pursue, promote, and defend common interests.
As part of our duty to uphold the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution, the Chandler Police Department recognizes that officers have the responsibility to protect the rights of those engaged in their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble in a law-abiding manner. Our duties and responsibilities during these demonstrations are public safety, and our officers will:
- Protect life and property. This includes enforcing all applicable criminal laws under Title 13, Arizona Revised Statutes, and the Chandler City Code.
- Protect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of those assembling and of the general public.
- Practice fair and impartial enforcement of laws, statutes, and ordinances.
- Communicate important messages using a PA system or through other means, such as social media.
- If necessary, due to demonstrations that may bring out people with divergent views, use barriers or other strategies to keep opposing perspectives separated to ensure everyone remains safe.
To promote public safety and open dialogue with organizers, the Chandler Police Department would like to share activities that pose a danger to the public and our officers:
- Marching on public highways, freeway, or other thoroughfares is prohibited under Arizona law and may subject persons engaging in this activity to arrest.
- Committing traffic violations is prohibited. Using a vehicle to impede or block the normal and reasonable traffic movement is a violation of Title 28, Arizona Revised Statutes.
- Throwing projectiles, including water bottles, rocks, signs, etc., at any person or officer is prohibited under Arizona law, and persons engaging in this activity may be subject to arrest.
- Interfering with or obstructing officers attempting to arrest persons involved in criminal activity is dangerous to officers and other publicly demonstrating persons. If a criminal offense has occurred, officers will work to identify those involved in the illegal activity for arrest. They will also work to secure the scene to minimize further criminal activity that would threaten an individual or safety of a property.
- In the case of injury, fire, or medical emergency, the Fire Department must access an area to render aid. The Chandler Police Department will take all necessary and lawful measures to ensure that can happen.
- If an Unlawful Assembly is declared by police, everyone must leave. Lawful demonstrators will be given a reasonable amount of time to follow the dispersal order, including vacating private property, roadways, and sidewalks in the immediate area.