Breaking the Law

American Civil Liberties Union Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Man Arrested for Posting Exodus Lyrics On Facebook

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james evans aclu exodusOne of 2014’s most outrageous metal-related stories, without a doubt, was that of James Evans (above), a thirty-one-year-old Kentucky resident who was arrested for “terroristic threatening” after posting some of the lyrics to Exodus’ “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)” on Facebook. It was such a blatantly ridiculous violation of Evans’ rights that even the arresting officers from the Greenville, Kentucky Police Department claimed blamelessness for the eight days Evans spent in prison, throwing the Muhlenberg County Police under the bus in their stead.

And guess who else thought the charges against Evans were ridiculous? The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky! According to The PRP, that organization has “now filed a federal lawsuit against Muhlenberg County, KY as well as Muhlenberg County police officer Michael A Drake.” A statement from the Kentucky ACLU regarding the lawsuit reads as follows:

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of James Evans, the Muhlenberg County man previously arrested and charged with making threats online for posting song lyrics from the heavy metal band Exodus. In 2014, Evans posted on his Facebook page lyrics from a song written about the Virginia Tech school shooting. Because of the school-related content, local law enforcement officials launched an investigation. In doing so, law enforcement officials learned the post consisted of song lyrics and that Evans had, in the past, posted lyrics from other songs online. And they questioned Evans who fully cooperated with their investigation.

“Nevertheless, a Muhlenberg County Police officer sought and obtained a warrant for Evans’ arrest. But the affidavit submitted for the warrant mentioned nothing about the investigation or the facts that were uncovered. The ACLU represented Evans in the criminal case which was ultimately dismissed, but not before Evans spent several days in custody for simply posting the lyrics online.

“In explaining the ACLU’s decision to file suit on Mr. Evans’ behalf, ACLU of Ky. Cooperating Attorney Brenda Popplewell stated, ‘This case is not only about Mr. Evans’ right to engage in non-threatening speech online, but also his right to be free from unlawful police tactics in securing his arrest and prosecution for a crime he did not commit.’ She added, ‘We look forward to representing Mr. Evans in this case, and we hope that by doing so we will not only vindicate his rights but help ensure that others’ rights are protected in the future.’

“ACLU of Kentucky Cooperating Attorney Brenda Popplewell and ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William E. Sharp represent Mr. Evans.”

It should go without saying that this is fantastic news. I haven’t read the entire lawsuit (you can do so here), but I’m really, really hoping this ends with Evans getting a lot of money, and Officer Drake and the residents of Muhlenberg County being treated to ninety hours of mandatory listening to Exodus. Like the sensitivity training or road safety courses the courts sometimes make people take, only, y’know, metal as motherfuck.

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