Occupy Tucson lawsuit against city dismissed

2012-05-18T14:03:00Z 2012-05-18T15:27:04Z Occupy Tucson lawsuit against city dismissedKim Smith, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

U.S. District Court Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson has dismissed the federal lawsuit the Occupy Tucson movement filed against the City of Tucson.

Last fall, Tucson police officers wrote hundreds of tickets to Occupy Tucson members when they began sleeping overnight in city parks. Attorney Paul Gattone filed a lawsuit claiming the city was violating the group’s constitutional rights.

Earlier this month, Jorgenson tossed out the lawsuit.

The law required Occupy Tucson to show the city adopted its no-camping restriction merely because it disagreed with a particular message, Jorgenson said.

However, the city adopted the restriction 35 years ago "in order to make the parks of the City safer, cleaner, and a more pleasant place to visit for all families and individuals of the city," Jorgenson said.

In addition, Occupy Tucson also has "ample opportunity to communicate their message without violating the city’s ordinances," Jorgenson wrote.

Gattone said Friday the organization is discussing the possibility of appealing the judge’s decision, but it depends on time and resources. The movement continues to grow and a lot of events are planned, Gattone said.

City Attorney Mike Rankin said he was pleased with the judge’s decision.

"We wouldn’t have been enforcing the ordinance if we didn’t think it was constitutional," Rankin said.

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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