Two women arrested for displaying breasts at a protest get $150,000
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested two women for baring their breasts at a rally. The women recovered $150,000. On November 7, 2005, Sheba Love and Sherry Glaser were protesting the government's definition of "decent" in front of the state capitol building in Sacramento. Ms. Love and Ms. Glaser, members of the political group Breasts Not Bombs, asserted that displaying their breasts was an act of free speech, and therefore was protected under the Constitution. The defense contended that the protest permit had a clause stating that participants who expose their private parts would be subject to arrest.
Love v. Brown, No. 06AS04799
The specific causes of action were ASSAULT AND BATTERY; FALSE ARREST & IMPRISONMENT; INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS.
Here is the organization's blog (some posts NSFW):
The specific blog post on the CHP lawsuit is titled, "To all our Bosom Buddies."
Oh, the loveliness.
I mentioned the CHP's incompetence on this blog in the case of Grassilli v. Barr (2006):
Post on Buffett (referring to the Grassilli-CHP case)
Specific allegations from the 150K Complaint are here:
3. Defendant CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL (CHP) is an arm of the State of California.
5. Defendant OFFICER TROY is and was, at the time of the incident, a CHP officer, acting under the color of law and in the course and scope of his employment for the Defendant CHP.
7. At all times mentioned here, DOES 1-30 were employees and agents for the Defendant CHP. These unidentified employees and agents are sued individually and in their capacities as police officers for the CHP. By engaging in the conduct described herein, the Defendant DOES acted under color of law and in the course and scope of their employment for Defendant CHP. By engaging in the conduct described herein, Defendant unidentified employees and agents exceeded the authority vested in them as employees of the CHP.
9.10.At all times mentioned, each named and DOE Defendant was the agent or employee of co-defendant CHP and BROWN and in doing the things alleged were acting within the course and scope of such agency or employment and with the actual and implied permission, consent, authorization, and approval of CHP and/or BROWN.
STATEMENT OF FACTS COMMON TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION
11. Defendant, CHP Officer TROY issued the group a permit which stated, “protest of this special election (ANY PERSON WHO EXPOSES PRIVATE PARTS IS SUBJECT TO ARREST FOR CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTIONS 314 AND 647(a). This permit is immediately cancelled and also future requests for permits on state property.”
13. On November 7, 2005 BNB members, men and women, including plaintiffs, participated in political protest at the permitted time and location. During the protest, Plaintiffs SHERRY GLASER and SHEBA LOVE took off their clothing tops exposing their bare breasts.
15. Following the wrongful arrest, SHERRY GLASER and SHEBA LOVE were falsely imprisoned by DOE Officers and detained for twelve hours before being released.
17. As a proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiffs suffered severe emotional and mental distress.
19. Plaintiffs were wrongfully arrested, depriving them of their liberty in violation of the law. The charges against them were eventually dropped. However, they paid thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees to fight the charges.
21. Plaintiffs found it necessary to engage the services of private counsel to vindicate their rights under law. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to an award of all attorneys’ fees incurred in relation to this action for violation of his state civil right to be free from harassment due to the violation of the civil rights and due to the violations of their civil rights based on their gender.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(False Arrest and Imprisonment)
(AGAINST CHP, BROWN, TROY, STALLMAN AND DOES 1-100)
23. The Defendant officers named herein, without probable cause, detained Plaintiffs for violations which they did not commit. Defendants could not have reasonably believed that Plaintiffs committed such violations, particularly in light of the fact that the Sacramento County District County clearly deemed that the Plaintiffs actions were not in violation of California Penal Code Section 314 or 647(a).
26.As a proximate result of Defendants wrongful conduct, Plaintiffs suffered damages as set forth.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for relief as set forth herein.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress)
(AGAINST CHP, BROWN, TROY, STALLMAN AND DOES 1-100)
The conduct of the defendant officers, as set forth herein, was extreme and outrageous and beyond the scope of conduct which should be tolerated by citizens in a democratic and civilized society. The Defendants, acting under color of law, falsely arrested and imprisoned Plaintiffs for 12 hours. The Defendants’ actions humiliated Plaintiffs and created enormous frustration for them. Defendants’ decision to arrest peaceful political protesters despite their permit resulted from an unfounded animosity. Defendants deliberately arrested the Plaintiffs and did the aforementioned unnecessary detainment with the intent to inflict severe mental and emotional distress upon the Plaintiffs.
The lawyers involved are here:
LAW OFFICES OF MATTHEW KUMIN
MATTHEW KUMIN, CSB # 177561
870 Market Street, Suite 1262
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel: (415) 434-8454
Fax: (415) 434-8453
ROTHSCHILD WISHEK & SANDS
MICHAEL CHASTAINE, CSB 121209