On December 22, 2011, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ed Coffin, an animal rights activist who was illegally arrested and held for two hours for handing out fliers on a public sidewalk outside of a Whole Foods store in December 2009.

The ACLU-PA argued that Coffin's experience was not an anamoly but rather part of a pattern by Philadelphia uniformed police of ignoring the First Amendment rights of protestors.

The city of Philadelphia settled the suit on January 24, 2012, with an offer of $15,000 to Coffin.

Press Releases


Paul Messing (Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg); Mary Catherine Roper, Chris Markos (ACLU-PA)

Date filed

December 22, 2011


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania