On December 7, 2011, a political activist and supporter of Occupy Minnesota filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under § 1983 against the County of Hennepin. The plaintiff, represented by a public interest law firm, asked the court for injunctive relief revoking ...
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On December 7, 2011, a political activist and supporter of Occupy Minnesota filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under § 1983 against the County of Hennepin. The plaintiff, represented by a public interest law firm, asked the court for injunctive relief revoking the notice of trespassing and permitting the plaintiff to enter government property without interference, and for compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that the defendants had arrested her without probable cause on account of her political activism. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that she was a legal observer for an Occupy Minnesota protest standing on a public sidewalk outside a government building when the defendants arrested her for trespassing.
Two days prior to the incident in dispute, security for the Hennepin County government building served a "trespass notice" upon the defendant resulting from writing political slogans in chalk on government property. The notice barred the plaintiff from Hennepin County government property for 365 days, or until the notice was resolved on appeal to the security manager. Two days later, while the plaintiff was serving as a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild, Hennepin County security guards approached her and told her that she could not enter the property because of her prior trespass notice. She claimed that at that moment, two deputy sheriffs arrived and placed her under arrest for trespassing. She spent seven hours in county jail before she was released on bail. She was charged with trespass, but the prosecution dropped the charge at the plaintiff's second court appearance.
On January 18, 2012, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her case, because she had reached a settlement with the defendants. According to news reports, the defendants agreed to pay the plaintiff $15,000 and revoked her ban from government property. In return, the plaintiff agreed not to chalk or otherwise deface government property. Additionally, the defendants agreed to change their policy for appeals from bans from county government property. Now, if the county wants someone barred from the property for longer than 45 days, that person can appeal and must get a hearing within 10 days. If the hearing official agrees with the trespass order, she must issue a written decision justifying her action.Nick Kabat - 04/13/2014