Seven members of the group were jailed for two days in July, but none was ever charged with the crime for which they were arrested: carrying simulated weapons of mass destruction.
In reality, said their attorney, Jordan Kushner, the group, who were all young adults except for a 17-year-old, were carrying backpacks containing blaring musical equipment on July 22 as they held a “Zombie dance party” to satirize consumers’ appetite for material goods. They wore ghoulish face paint to symbolize what they see as “brainless” spending.
In the suit served Wednesday, “The Zombie 7″ contend the arrests deprived them of their First Amendment rights and that authorities harassed, assaulted and falsely imprisoned them. The action also names individual police officers and jailers.
“The real test of whether we value free speech is if we allow the expression of messages that are controversial,” Kushner said. “It was the police that specifically decided to harass and persecute them because of that reason.”
City officials could not be reached for comment.
Among the activists’ claims: That jailers seized the artificial leg of Jake Sternberg of California and kept it from him for two days while he was jailed.
Written by JOY POWELL