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Keisha Williams, [email protected]

October 13, 2023

Asheville — The ACLU of North Carolina filed a motion yesterday in Norris v. Asheville, requesting that the Court enjoin the City from enforcing park bans issued to 15 individuals. The plaintiffs in this case were banned from parks for a period of three years after they were charged with felony littering while protesting the City’s treatment of unhoused people. Plaintiffs regularly volunteered their time providing support and resources to unhoused people in Asheville. 

The lawsuit alleges that the policy and bans violate the Plaintiffs’ due process rights by taking away their access to public parks without requiring notice and a meaningful hearing. The current policy is also unconstitutionally vague, allowing a wide range of city officials to ban individuals from public parks based on "observed” violations—all without requiring that the City notify them of the ban.  

Now, the ACLU of North Carolina is requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent city officials from enforcing the unconstitutional park bans and park ban policy while the case moves through the courts.   

“These bans have prevented Plaintiffs from continuing their work supporting Asheville’s unhoused community members and from speaking out about issues that they are invested in and impacted by, based on criminal charges that for most Plaintiffs are still pending,” said Muneeba Talukder, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Instead of addressing Asheville’s growing housing crisis, the City has chosen to remove the voices that hold them accountable from some of the only public forums in the City.”