Minn. Bill Would Allow Cities to Sue Protesters

Minnesota State Representative Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) wants to pass a law that would allow cities to sue protesters, KSTP reports.

“If you try to shut down the Mall of America,” Zerwas said, “a taxpayer from Bloomington shouldn’t have to pay because you want to break the law.”

Zerwas said the law is in response to protesters blocking I-94, the mall shutdown and activists occupying the 4th Precinct police station in Minneapolis. He said the legislation wouldn’t make anything illegal that isn’t already in violation of the law.

“You have a constitutionally protected right for free speech and for your message,” Zerwas explained. “You do not have a constitutional right to block a freeway or to put a fire ring in the middle of a city street.”

Teresa Nelson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, believes the law would give the government discretion over who to sue and when.

“I think this bill is troubling and likely unconstitutional.”

According to the media outlet, Zerwas also introduced another bill that would increase criminal penalties if protesters block access to freeways, the airport or the light rail system.