Mpls. agrees to pay 'zombie' protesters $165,000by Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $165,000 to settle a lawsuit seven protesters filed over their arrests while dressed as zombies in 2006.
The protesters dressed as zombies and blared music as part of a demonstration against consumerism, but police arrested them for having "simulated weapons of mass destruction."
Although the protesters were jailed, they weren't charged.
They then filed a lawsuit in federal court saying their constitutional right of free speech had been violated.
The lawsuit was dismissed initially but was reinstated on appeal. Jordan Kushner, the protesters' attorney, said the two sides had been working to settle the case.
"They weren't out to make a lot of money off of this," Kushner said. "They did want to make sure the city paid enough money to make it clear that there was a cost for what happened and hopefully provide a disincentive for the police in Minneapolis to disrespect people's rights in the future."
City Attorney Susan Segal said the Minneapolis police were responding to the protesters' backpacks, which had wires and electronics in them. Police decided to call a member of the bomb squad to respond to the perceived threat, she said.
She said it's fortunate the backpacks were harmless and said the settlement helps resolve the situation.
"The settlement caps the city's risk and allows everyone to move forward," she said.