On Friday, March 16, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana refused to dismiss retired police officer Bobby Simmons' civil rights suit against the City of Mamou. The court noted that Simmons, who alleges that the City violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him for criticizing the Mamou chief of police to a local newspaper, had provided sufficient evidence of civil rights violations to permit his suit to go to trial.
In allowing the case to proceed, the Court cited evidence that the City and its offers relied on an unconstitutional statute, withheld relevant facts and evidence from a judge, and misrepresented various facts, all in order to obtain an arrest warrant against Simmons. Simmons is represented by the ACLU Foundation of Louisiana, asserting his Constitutional rights not to be arrested simply for speaking his mind.
"In a free society, everyone must have the right to make statements about public officials, even statements that are unflattering," said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director. "Bobby Simmons was arrested simply for saying something that the chief of police didn't want to hear, and our Constitution is clear that officials cannot retaliate in that way."
This case will now proceed to trial.