ACLU Sues Police For Jailing Exodus Fan Who Posted 'Threatening' Lyrics to Facebook
Kentucky resident James Evans stood trial and was briefly jailed last year for posting the metal band's lyrics to Facebook.
Last August, a 31-year old Kentucky man was jailed for several days after local authorities interpreted his posting of Exodus lyrics on Facebook as a murder threat. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit on James Evans' behalf for the ordeal he endured, citing unlawful arrest and prosecution.
"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," ACLU cooperating attorney Brenda Popplewell said.
Evans was arrested and charged with a Class C felony after posting lyrics from the metal band's "Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)," a song written from the perspective of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho. The ACLU represented Evans, who was accused of "terrorist threatenings" and faced the possibility of between 5-10 years in prison. Those charges were later dismissed.
"Exodus does not promote or condone terrorists, threats or bullying," guitarist Gary Holt said in a statement, following the arrest. "James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it. The song 'Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)' was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of f--ked up behavior."
The case is filed against Muhlenberg County, Ky. and Muhlenberg County police officer Michael A Drake. Evans will be represented by Popplewell and ACLU of Kentucky legal director William E. Sharp. A transcript of the suit is available here.