Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v. Baltimore Police Department, No. 20-1495 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
After determining that plaintiffs have standing to bring their 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction against Baltimore's aerial surveillance (AIR) program.
The court concluded that plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their Fourth Amendment claim, because the AIR program does not infringe on a reasonable expectation of privacy. The court explained that the AIR program has built-in limitations designed to minimize invasions of individual privacy. Furthermore, the program seeks to meet a serious law enforcement need without unduly burdening constitutional rights. The court also concluded that plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the program will violate their First Amendment rights to freely associate with others. The court explained that the basic problem with plaintiffs' argument is that people do not have a right to avoid being seen in public places and, even if that were not so, it is a stretch to suggest people are deterred from associating with each other because they may show up as a dot under the AIR program. Finally, the court concluded that allowing the AIR program to continue is the equitable course of action and serves the public interest.