ACLU takes on activist's ban from federal buildingby Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an activist who was detained and banned from a federal building in Minneapolis last year after writing with chalk on a public sidewalk.
The lawsuit targets Federal Protective Services, Minnesota and Minneapolis for an incident last summer where the ACLU contends activist Melissa Hill's constitutional rights were violated.
On June 9, 2011, Hill saw that a message reading "Don't Enlist, Resist," on the sidewalk in front of the federal building had been changed to "Enlist." When she went to change the message back with chalk, she was detained, searched and given a trespass notice that banned her from the federal building for one year, said Teresa Nelson, legal counsel for the state ACLU.
"We are suing because we believe her right to free expression was violated, as well as her right to be free of searches and seizures," Nelson said.
Hill and one of her lawyers, Meghan Lind, declined to comment.
Hill previously was awarded $15,000 from Hennepin County after she was banned from the Hennepin County Government Center Plaza for one year during Occupy Minnesota protests last fall.