A Minneapolis appeals court has ruled wholeheartedly in favor of first amendment rights for zombies.
Back in 2006, a group of 7 "blind consumerism" protesters dressed up as the undead and traipsed around a Minneapolis mall. It's no surprise that someone called the cops on them, and that they were then arrested for disorderly conduct and put in jail for two nights. The group believed they were wrongfully arrested, and filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, which was at first struck down but has now been allowed to continue by an appeals court.
The zombie protesters were wearing fake blood, white powder, and had black circles around their eyes, so they definitely looked like some creepy-ass dudes. They were also carrying audio equipment and wireless phone handsets (cellphones?) that police described as "simulated weapons of mass destruction." Despite the protester's methods and carrying of these "weapons," the appeals court says that the police were unjustified in the arrest by a vote of two-to-one.
"An objectively reasonable person would not think probable cause exists under the Minnesota disorderly conduct statue to arrest a group of peaceful people for engaging in an artistic protest by playing music, broadcasting statements (and) dressing as zombies," the court ruled. The protesters' lawsuit seeks $50,000 in damages per arrest, claiming that their zombie constitutional rights were violated.
Depending on the level of behavior the zombie protesters were exhibiting, I may agree with the appeal court's decision. If the police told them to leave the mall, and they didn't, they deserve the arrest. If they were immediately arrested for walking around like zombies, and weren't touching or harming anyone around them, there may be some credence to the wrongful arrest lawsuit, though $50,000 in damages sounds like a bit much.
The big issue here is that we all just became a lot less safe as a society that will, without a doubt, eventually be overrun by zombies. How are we to know when the zombie apocalypse begins if the undead have the right to walk the streets by law? My rule of thumb has been and always will be to kill any zombie I see and worry about if it was someone in a costume later. I'm not going to get eaten just because some college kids hate the mall.
(Via: Sci-Fi Wire)