Media Contact

Keisha Williams, [email protected]

March 25, 2024

Asheville — A District Court judge issued a decision in Norris v. Asheville granting the Plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction, meaning that the City’s decision to ban the Plaintiffs from Asheville parks will not be enforced as the case proceeds. 

The ACLU of North Carolina filed the lawsuit on behalf of 15 individuals who were banned from parks without notice or an opportunity to appeal the decision. The City issued these bans after Asheville police charged Plaintiffs with felony littering for a protest criticizing the City’s treatment of unhoused people. Prior to the bans, 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’ rights to due process and freedom of assembly by taking away their access to public parks without requiring notice or a meaningful hearing. The lawsuit also alleges that the bans constitute retaliation against Plaintiffs for protesting the City’s treatment of unhoused people. 

“Instead of addressing Asheville’s growing housing crisis, the City has chosen to remove the voices that hold them accountable from public gathering spaces,” said Muneeba Talukder, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. “The City’s unconstitutional bans have caused severe consequences in the Plaintiffs’ personal and professional lives. We are glad that the Plaintiffs will once again have access to the parks while we move forward with the lawsuit.”