California ACLU branches issue statement condemning white supremacy

Protesters yell at each other in alt-right rally April 15 at Civic Center Park, while police stand between the groups.
Julian Kilchling /File
Protesters yell at each other in alt-right rally April 15 at Civic Center Park, while police stand between the groups.

The California branches of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, issued a statement Wednesday condemning the actions of white supremacists in light of the recent white supremacy protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Although the Virginia ACLU branch issued a lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville for relocating the rally, all three of ACLU’s California branches issued a statement titled “White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech.” In the statement, they disagreed with the actions of white supremacists and denounced anyone who engages in violence.

“If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution,” the California branches of the ACLU said in the statement. “The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.”

The national branch of the ACLU published a statement via Twitter on Thursday, in which it supported with the California branches’ press release, saying that it agreed “with every word in the statement from our colleagues in California.”

“We condemn the views of white supremacists, and fight against them every day,” the national branch said in its statement. “At the same time, we believe that even odious hate speech, with which we vehemently disagree, garners the protection of the First Amendment when expressed non-violently.”