Free Speech for Zombies

Rights for the Undead


Seven zombies will be dining on a premium cut of brain after winning a $160,000 settlement from the city of Minneapolis. The seven—actually live human protesters in zombie garb—were arrested in 2006 during the city's Aquatennial festival for limping through a shopping area to protest excessive consumerism. Police arrested the group, confiscating one fake zombie's real artificial leg, detained them for two days, and charged them with "possession of weapons of mass destruction," apparently a reference to a homemade microphone and speaker system that someone mistook for a bomb.

The zombies, who were eventually cleared on all charges, filed a federal civil rights suit against the city, arguing that they were unlawfully detained and that the police violated their First Amendment rights. A judge threw out the suit in 2008, but it was resurrected in February by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which found that even the undead have First Amendment rights. The city settled with the zombies in August.