A screen printing company in Oakland, California has filed a lawsuit against the United States Postal Service after it shipped Black Lives Matter masks for protesters during Covid-19 during protests following the killing of George Floyd May 2020, were allegedly ripped off by the agency, reports NBC News.
The cloth masks had the words “Stop Killing Black People” and “Defund Police” printed on them and were purchased by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). The shipment was headed to DC, St. Louis, New York and Minneapolis, the state where Floyd was killed by a police officer. Derek Chauvin. The four boxes contained approximately 500 masks, each labeled as “seized by law enforcement”, causing more … than 24 hour delay for incoming packages, according to NBC.
Rene Quinonezthe owner of Movement Ink, who made the masks for Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm, told NBC News his small family business suffered the ripple effect from the foreclosure.
“For us as an organization, as a business and as a member of our community, our intent was to support the many activities that were happening across the country,” Quiñonez told NBC News.
representing Barbara Lee released a letter in June 2020. The Postal Service says Quiñonez’s packages “were held solely because the external physical characteristics of the packages were consistent with packages in other unrelated cases that have been confirmed to be contained non-sendable materials, specifically controlled substances, NBC News reports
Quiñonez is suing U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials for allegedly violating his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment when they mistakenly seized the boxes of masks without probable cause, warrant, or reasonable suspicion, according to Revolt. .
“It is not clear whether the defendants knew that the packages contained – in the words of the defendants – ‘BLM MASKS’ before seizing the packages,” the lawsuit says, Revolt reports. “If Defendants knew the packages contained — in Defendants’ words — ‘BLM MASKS’ before seizing the packages, Defendants violated the First Amendment by seizing packages because of their political messages.”
Quiñonez wants to shed light on his situation and hopes that Americans are concerned that the government may take their masks containing their political beliefs.
“The fact that our government can just seize private property — either just out of general suspicion or because they know about his political comments — is a frightening reality we live in,” Quiñonez said, according to NBC News.