The 8th Circuit court (of which MN belongs) ruled the police had no probable cause to arrest the undead for disorderly conduct.
These ‘zombies’ were dressed up to protest consumerism in Minneapolis during the 2006 Aquatennial. The fact that those arrested were, at the time, engaged in First Amendment-protected expressive activities matters in applying the disorderly conduct statute, the court said. Yes, these people might have been painted white, covered in fake blood, dragging their feet and moaning over a portable sound system, but “the likelihood was great that the plaintiffs’ artistic and symbolic message would be understood by those who viewed the protest.”
This is a fantastic ruling to ensure the rights of the people to make a statement and stand up for what they believe in.
Considering what Mr. Machholz got away with in 1996, this shouldn’t be a surprise. During the National Coming Out Day on October 11, 1995, Mr. Machholz road his horse through the crowd and shouted You’re giving us AIDS!”; “You’re spreading your filth!”; “There are no homosexuals in heaven!”; and “You’re corrupting our children!” Before he left ‘the field of battle’ he proceeded to swing the lead rope at the easel that held the sign for the event, knocking down it down. Several people testified that they were terrified, initially convicting him of felony harassment. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed his conviction for felony harassment because the statute was unconstitutional for being overbroad.
If Mr. Machholz gets that much protection, so should zombies. Although, I don’t believe the zombies made anyone feel terrified.
Landon J. Ascheman, Esq.
(B) 612.217.0077 (C) 651.280.9533 (F) 651.344.0700
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02/24/2010 Jessica Baribeau v. City of Minneapolis
U.S. Court of Appeals Case No: 08-3165
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota – Minneapolis
[PUBLISHED] [Per Curiam – Before Colloton, John R. Gibson and Beam, Circuit Judges]
Civil case – civil rights. Plaintiffs were entitle to engage in their protected expressive conduct, in which they dressed like zombies, walked erratically and broadcast anti-consumerism statements over a makeshift loudspeaker system, and the police lacked probable cause to arrest them; defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity because they violated plaintiffs’ clearly established rights when they arrested plaintiffs without arguable probable cause to believe that plaintiffs had displayed weapons of mass destruction; defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs’claims that they were arrested in retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights; defendants were also entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs’ claims that the officers committed the state-law tort of false imprisonment; officers’ action in confiscating plaintiff Sternberg’s prosthetic leg was not a violation of his fourteenth amendments rights as the confiscation was reasonably related to the legitimate governmental objective of maintaining jail security; plaintiff Sternberg failed to state a claim that the confiscation violated his rights under Title II of the ADA. Judge Colloton, concurring in part and dissenting in part.