Addressing the Rise of Unlawful Private Paramilitaries
After the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville led to violence and even death, we at ICAP concluded that the privatization of violence was at the core of that weekend's mayhem.
We soon filed suit on behalf of the City of Charlottesville, downtown businesses, and neighborhood associations seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent a recurrence of such dangerous privatized use of force.
We prevailed, securing court orders prohibiting a range of groups and individuals from returning to Charlottesville as, in essence, rogue armies. The success in court underscored the importance of adopting a litigation approach grounded in law enforcement sensibilities but ultimately aimed at restoring to the public square the capacity for genuine advocacy and the peaceful exchange of ideas. Moreover, ICAP’s judicial victory in Charlottesville yielded subsequent work with jurisdictions from Georgia to Tennessee to California to Oregon to help them utilize similar laws available to them in order to address similar incarnations of privatized violence.
- Published an op-ed highlighting how federal law prohibits private militias from assuming the duty of Border Patrol officers
- Released a 50 State Catalog of laws prohibiting private armies at public rallies
- Published an op-ed outlining how local jurisdictions can protect public safety at protests and rallies while preserving constitutional rights
- Published an op-ed calling on border state governors to use their state laws to stop the private militias from deploying to the border to “assist” the U.S. military and Customs and Border Patrol
- Filed an expert declaration identifying threats to national security, law enforcement, and foreign policy posed by widespread availability of code for 3D-printed guns
- Published an op-ed in the Washington Post with the former mayor of Charlottesville explaining how local jurisdictions around the country can use existing constitutional provisions and state laws to prevent unauthorized paramilitary activity