Fur Protester Arrested for Standing on Public Sidewalk

August 29, 2013

During the 2012 holiday season, Beth Delaney was standing outside a fur store and holding a sign that said “Fur Kills; Don’t Buy It.” Although Delaney was standing peacefully on a city sidewalk and was not interfering with anyone who chose to shop at the store, an employee of the store called the police to complain. The police soon arrived and told Delaney that she would have to leave because she was violating a local ordinance against loitering. When Delaney told the police she had a constitutional right to be there, she was arrested.

The ACLU of Michigan represented her in state court, where all criminal charges were dismissed in January 2013. We then filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf in July 2013 to stop the Birmingham police from continuing to violate the First Amendment in this way.

Birmingham immediately agreed to a consent judgment, the terms of which include a new policy clarifying that the loitering ordinance cannot be used against protesters who peacefully stand on public sidewalks, and retraining for police officers.

(Delaney v. City of Birmingham; ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin and Legal Fellow Christina Thacker; Cooperating Attorneys Christine Hopkins, Raymond Sterling and Lisa Schmidt.)

To view the full 2013-2014 Legal Docket, click here.