Great news, DC residents and tourists: No need to find a place to sleep at night. You can just put up a tent in a public park, and the cops have to give you 24 hours’ notice before making you clear out!
A U.S. District judge ruled Monday night the National Park Service must give protesters in McPherson Square some notice if it moves to evict them, except for in emergency situations, according to a lawyer for an Occupy D.C. protester.
Following a day-long standoff Sunday after protesters erected a 15-foot-tall wood-frame structure in the park, one protester sought a ruling clarifying his rights if the National Park Service decides to enforce a ban on overnight camping.
In an order handed down by Judge James E. Boasberg, the court said the Park Service should provide “24-hour notice to the Court” and protesters “if it intends to enforce its regulations prohibiting camping or sleeping in McPherson Square.”
“Absent such notice or exigent circumstances, the Government will not restrict Plaintiff’s access to the square or his camping or sleeping in the square,” the judge wrote.
Jeffrey Light, an attorney for Occupy protester Brett Henke, said the ruling should ease protesters’ concerns that Park Police might suddenly conduct a raid on McPherson Square, separating protesters from their personal possessions.
So if you’re breaking the law, the cops need to give you 24 hours before they arrest you. Okay.
Of course, there’s another great way to avoid being separated from your personal possessions: Don’t live in an Obamaville. Oh wait, but then nobody will know how special you are. Never mind.