ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-MN) is suing the City of Minneapolis over a so-called clean zone when Major League Baseball's All-Star Game comes to town this summer.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of two members of the One Day in July Street Festival Committee, who plan on holding a public event during that time period to commemorate the 1934 Teamsters strike during which two strikers were killed by Minneapolis Police. In February the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution allowing Major League Baseball (MLB) to establish a clean zone, which encompasses all of downtown and a portion of the University of Minnesota's campus. As part of that resolution, MLB has veto power over all events that take place inside the zone between July 5 and July 20.
Activities regulated as a part of the resolution include: block events, parades, temporary food or beverage service, signs, and public performances of song. One Day in July Street Festival would be included in those events that face MLB veto. The plaintiffs maintain that could impact their right to free speech.
"It is disappointing that the Minneapolis City Council didn't even blink an eye at signing over our rights to Major League Baseball," said Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. "A government body cannot just hand over control of our Constitutional rights to a private company."
"This lawsuit is not aimed at shutting down the All-Star Baseball Game," stated Tom Hamlin, cooperating attorney for the ACLU-MN. "All we are asking is that the resolution establishing the clean zone is struck down by the court, because it violates our client's Constitutional rights."
In the lawsuit, the ACLU-MN asked that the court strike the resolution and declare it unconstitutional.
"It is an insult to me and to all Americans, that before exercising my first amendment right to speak and assemble I must first get permission from a private company," stated One Day festival organizer Jim McGuire. "It is ironic that in trying to commemorate a horrific violation of our rights in the past, we are now facing further violations."