CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) has received several complaints from West Virginians who believe their local governments are restricting the constitutional right to protest.

ACLU-WV has responded by broadly issuing guidance to cities and State Police detachments throughout West Virginia, many of which may be dealing with protests for the first time in recent history. Specifically, the guidance explains the rights enshrined in both the federal and state constitutions, when government agencies may and may not require permits for protests, and the rights of protesters to film government actors who are executing official duties.

“Just as it is necessary for West Virginians to understand the breadth of the rights to which they are entitled, it is incumbent on state and local government officials to fully understand when restrictions on those rights are impermissible,” the guidance letter states.

The letter has been distributed to the West Virginia Municipal League, the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association, and the West Virginia Troopers Association. ACLU-WV asks each organization to share the letter with all members.