Exodus Fan Who Was Arrested for Posting Lyrics on Facebook: “It’s Surreal”
James Evans, the thirty-one-year-old Greenville, Kentucky resident who arrested last month for posting the lyrics to Exodus’ “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)” on Facebook, has now spoken with Billboard about his ordeal. Needless to say, the entire experience can be summed up Evan’s comment that “It’s surreal,” or, as I would be more inclined to put it, “Holy fucking shit that is fucked up.” But here’s the longer version in case you want some more surface details for your upcoming nightmares:
The fallout began that same day [Evans posted the lyrics]. Local police officers arrived at Evans’ mother’s house in Greenville, Ky., asking if she knew where he was. She directed them to her son’s house in Central City, where they proceeded to ask him if he planned on harming anyone, along with issuing a report on the situation. “I assumed the conversation got resolved,” says Evans, who works the night shift at a screenprinting store. On Monday, the officers returned to his house while Evans was at work, asking his wife what kind of car he drove and if he was in possession of any weapons.
“They informed her that I may or not be charged,” he says. “They said they were going to talk to me at work, but they never showed up. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.” At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, officers showed up at his workplace and issued Evans a warrant for his arrest. According to 14News, the warrant says Evans was arrested because, “he threatened to kill students and or staff at school.”
“They never even cuffed me, just put me in the back of the car,” he says. “They knew I wasn’t dangerous. They were kind of shocked, too, because they thought it had been resolved. They just had to serve it because it was in their jurisdiction.”
Evans’ alleged “terrorist threatening,” the article goes on to explain, is a Class C felony, and should the Exodus fan be convincted, he could be sent to prison for five to ten years. The paltry silver (copper?) lining is that Evans’ case has been deferred for six months while he undergoes psychiatric evaluation; if that all goes okay, the charges will be stricken from his permanent record. So at least he’ll never have to try to explain to a potential employer or money lender or whatever what he was arrested for threatening to kill children. Phew!
Meanwhile, the article goes on to quote two lawyers (including one from the ACLU), both of whom agree that this whole situation is totally fucked:
David Greene, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells Billboard this case is a misinterpretation of threat law. “Generally, statements are protected by the First Amendment,” he says. “There’s an exception for true threats, which are threats of violence directed against a person that puts that person in a state of fear. There’s absolutely no basis for thinking this person was doing anything more than quoting lyrics, or that he intended to put any person in a state of fear or carry out any action of attack.”
In conclusion, as I have said in the past, do not live in Kentucky. Seriously. It’s just not worth it. Come to New York. The only thing you’re not really allowed to do here is be polite.