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October 26, 1990

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER



 Plaintiffs, Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Invisible Empire, seek an injunction against the District of Columbia and certain of its officials or, in the alternative, against the United States for an order requiring one or the other defendants to issue permits authorizing plaintiffs to march on Sunday, October 28, 1990, from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill. They have valid permits to assemble on the Monument grounds and to demonstrate on the Capitol grounds. Plaintiffs applied to the District of Columbia defendants for a permit to march from the Monument, north on 14th Street, N.W., east on Constitution Avenue, N.W., to its intersection with Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., and thence to the Capitol grounds. They applied in the alternative to the United States for a permit to march from the Monument grounds, east on Madison Drive on the Mall to 7th Street, N.W., north on 7th Street to Constitution Avenue, N.W., and thence east to the Capitol on part of the route for which they seek a District permit. Plaintiffs prefer the Constitution Avenue route, but would accept a permit for the Madison Drive/Constitution Avenue route. On a prior occasion, September 2, 1990, the District issued a permit for plaintiffs to march the full route on Constitution Avenue. Violence threatened and later ensued. Instead of marching as authorized, plaintiffs acquiesced in a District suggestion that they travel by convoy to the Capitol. Nevertheless, a hostile mob attacked police lines on the route. Plaintiffs were unharmed, but several police officers suffered injuries and there was property damage in the area.

 The District defendants have now granted to plaintiffs a permit for a four block march originating at 7th Street, N.W., and thence to 3rd Street at the foot of Capitol Hill, by Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues, but have denied any permit for a march from 14th Street, N.W., to 7th Street, N.W., and oppose entry of an order against them requiring one. According to a letter dated October 22, 1990, from Isaac Fulwood, Jr., Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD"), to Arthur B. Spitzer, Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union Fund, the MPD could not

adequately ensure public safety for the length of the route proposed . . ., given the limitations on our resources and our belief that the parade creates a substantial possibility of violent, disorderly conduct likely to endanger public safety or to result in significant property damage.

 United States officials have not yet acted on the application to them. The United States agrees with plaintiffs that they have a constitutional right to march from the Monument to the Capitol and the United States vigorously advocates the route along Constitution Avenue in preference to a segmented route along Madison Drive and up 7th Street to the Avenue and thence to the Capitol. United States officials declare that the Park Police consist of only 500 officers nationwide, with 300 available for the Madison Drive segment of the march, and cannot adequately maintain order along that route without reinforcement from several hundred MPD officers at places designated by the Park Police. MDP has refused to make those officers available at these places on the theory that the officers so requested would be required by the MPD as a reserve to stand hard by the four block segment on Constitution Avenue for which MPD is willing to accept responsibility. Counsel for the United States represents that it would supply all the additional resources required by the circumstances to assist the MPD to protect the plaintiffs, to protect federal property along Constitution Avenue from 14th Street to 3rd Street, and to safeguard the Nation's Capital. But he cites the affidavits of United States' experts who are of the opinion that Chief Carroll overestimates his requirements. Indeed, counsel for the United States referred to these estimates as "incredible." Be that as it may, however, counsel for the United States represented, as the Court understood him, that even if, contrary to the opinion of the United States' experts, the circumstances required 1,000 additional appropriate law enforcement officers (or their equivalent) to assist the MPD, the United States could not supply them for the occasion. This is also inherently incredible.


 The principles governing decisions on plaintiffs' motions for a temporary restraining order and for a preliminary injunction are well established.

To determine whether an injunction is appropriate, the District Court should balance (1) the likelihood of plaintiff's success on the merits, (2) the threat of irreparable injury to the plaintiff in the absence of an injunction, (3) the possibility of substantial harm to other interested parties from a grant of injunctive relief, and (4) the interests of the general public.

 Wagner v. Taylor, 266 U.S. App. D.C. 402, 836 F.2d 566, 575 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (footnote omitted); see also Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Comm'n v. Holiday Tours, Inc., 182 U.S. App. D.C. 220, 559 F.2d 841, 842-43 (D.C. Cir. 1977); Virginia Petroleum Jobbers Ass'n. v. Federal Power Comm'n, 104 U.S. App. D.C. 106, 259 F.2d 921, 925 (D.C. Cir. 1958). Because all four considerations favor the plaintiffs, the accompanying Order will grant plaintiffs' motion as to the District of Columbia. The motion for an injunction against the United States will be denied.

 At this preliminary stage, plaintiffs have established that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that they have a First Amendment right to march from the Washington Monument to the Capitol on Constitution Avenue. This route along Constitution Avenue for demonstrations assembling at the Monument and ...

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