Recognizing the Constitutional Rights of Zombies?

Yesterday, in the latest crash-through of fiction into reality, a settlement was announced in a Minneapolis case regarding the alleged wrongful arrest of a septet of zombies.

The originating incident occured in 2006, when seven friends dressed as zombies, parked a portable iPod stereo in their backpack, and went out for a zombie walk/protest against, in their words, “mindless consumerism.” They were arrested and detained for two days for “simulating a weapon of mass destruction” but were never officially charged with a crime.

The group filed a lawsuit, citing wrongful arrest and a disregard for their basic constitutional rights. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

One of the zombies, Jake Sternberg, later testified that police Sgt. E.T. Nelson told the zombies at the police station that he didn’t care about their constitutional rights, using two obscenities, according to court records.

“Those words are seared into my mind; I’ll never forget them,” Sternberg, who now lives in San Francisco, said in an interview.

The lawsuit was rejected by the District Court, but resurrected (with a hunger for…justice?) by an appeals court. Before the case could be taken to a federal level, the city of Minneapolis settled with the group and their lawyer for $165,000.

The city remains unapologetic for the incident.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan L. Segal said it was in the best interests of the city to settle. “We believe the police acted reasonably, but you never know what a jury is going to do with a case,” she said.

If a jury had concluded that the seven plaintiffs’ constitutional rights had been violated and awarded $50,000 to each, plus defense attorney’s fees, “it could have been quite substantial,” Segal said.

For more detailed coverage regarding the incident, visit the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

AARG button from Zombie Presidents

Chris Greenland accepts that sometimes you don’t write the zombie stories, they write you.


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