Zombies are free to again walk the streets of Minneapolis due to another zombie-friendly decision from the federal courts. The federal court of appeals ruled that a group of protesters dressed as zombies could sue the police department and individual officers for wrongful arrest in a 2-1 decision. The dissenting Judge Colloton immediately had his brains sucked out after being pursued by rampaging zombies.
The ruling is actually an important victory for citizens (zombie and non-zombie) — reversing the decision of U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen . The protest was staged against consumerism during the 2006 Aquatennial and the plaintiffs are seeking damages for their arrests. The panel ruled that police lacked probable cause to arrest the seven people wearing white powder, fake blood and black around their eyes and shuffling around like zombies. They were charged with disorderly conduct. (Notably, they did not allege discrimination against zombies since all zombies shuffle around and moan — an immutable zombie characteristic). The opinion below states that they were “walking in a stiff, lurching fashion.”
In a bizarre twist, the officers raised concern that they might be part of a violent street gang:
[Officers] Merkel and Weber subsequently spoke about the plaintiffs with Sergeant
Timothy Hoeppner, who was in charge of patrolling the area for drunk people that evening. Based on information in a police bulletin, Hoeppner expressed concern that the plaintiffs were affiliated with the Juggalos, a violent gang from Washington State known for wearing face paint.
The plaintiffs say that once at the police station Sergeant Edward Nelson declared that he didn’t “give a g**damn about anybody’s constitutional f***ing rights.” If so, he might want to change his views in light of this opinion.
The court held that police cannot use immunity against such claims while it affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of false imprisonment and first amendment claims.
Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal insists that she will appeal.
Now, before Republicans allege a pro-zombie bias of activist judges, the decision is well reasoned and well supported.
For the people of Minneapolis, we offered this training film on what to do when confronted with zombies and their ACLU lawyers:
For our English cousins, here is another tutorial: