Zombies Avoid Federal Trial, Get Paid $165,000
As we reported back in March, a group of Minneapolis zombies sued after having been arrested during a peaceful protest in 2006. Though they had never been charged with a crime, they were detained for two days, and police claimed that their sound equipment was thought to be “weapons of mass destruction.” The Zombies’ (actually a group of seven people protesting mindless consumerism) original lawsuit was dismissed, but their request to appeal was granted in February.
On Friday, August 20th, the Minneapolis City Council agreed to settle out of court by paying $165,000 to the zombies. If the case had gone to trial, the group could have stood to receive $350,000 plus legal fees.
Apparently, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal feels that juries would be sympathetic to the walking dead (or might use gavels to defeat them…). She did not apologize for the actions of the Minneapolis police who arrested the group of zombies at the 2006 Aquatennial, but stated “We believe the police acted reasonably, but you never know what a jury is going to do with a case.”
Zombies continue to be a pop-culture phenomenon, and their popularity continues to grow. In addition to the upcoming AMC show Walking Dead (based on the comic of the same name) and the next installment in the Resident Evil movie series, Resident Evil: Afterlife set to hit theaters in 3-D September 10th, there are countless podcasts, blogs, and fan sites devoted to our culture’s obsession with the shambling hordes of undead.
It also stands to reason that, with so much focus on First Amendment rights in the US right now, and series like HBO’s True Blood speculating on the rights of supernatural beings, the rights of zombies are going to be a hot topic.
Whether people learn from this example and remember to respect the views
of others, or people hit the streets dressed like zombies in hopes of
getting a payout like the Minneapolis group, this incident is going to
influence police-zombie relations around the country. Perhaps some of
the police departments who refused to comment on zombies in June of 2009
will actually have to consider their policies on the undead.
Raphi Rechitsky, one of the seven Minneapolis zombies, was quoted as saying “I feel great that the city is being held accountable for the actions of their police.” He is working on his PhD in Sociology. Perhaps he is studying human-zombie interactions for his dissertation. Regardless, his undead extracurricular activities may have just helped to pay off some pesky student loans.