Activist sues St. Paul, police over arrestby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — An anti-war activist who was mistakenly arrested during a rally for Barack Obama last month has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and five police officers.
Mick Kelly was handing out leaflets outside the rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Xcel Energy Center. Kelly says the flyers contained information about a protest against the Iraq War that will be held on the first day of the Republican National Convention.
"One does not need permission to leaflet on the sidewalks of St. Paul, Minneapolis, or in any other city," Kelly said Wednesday morning, shortly after filing the suit. "It's a highly-protected constitutional right to put a piece of paper in people's hands and tell them a political message."
Assistant City Attorney Jerry Hendrickson says the city has acknowledged the arrest was a mistake and the police have tried to apologize to Kelly.
"We think that we have, by apologizing, done the right thing," noted Hendrickson. "I'd be interested to see what evidence he has that the 30-minute detention equals $75,000."
Kelly says an apology isn't enough; his lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages.