PITTSBURGH - A civil-rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of four activists who were arrested by Pittsburgh police for distributing pamphlets outside a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game is scheduled to begin Monday, March 19.
The activists were standing on the sidewalk outside PNC Park handing out pamphlets criticizing major-league baseball for selling merchandise made by foreign sweat shops when they were arrested in 2002. The ACLU quickly secured a court order protecting the protesters' First Amendment right to engage in political activity on the sidewalks surrounding the stadium. The trial is being held to determine whether the City will be ordered to pay damages.
"Passing out leaflets on a public sidewalk is a quintessential example of speech protected by the First Amendment," said ACLU cooperating attorney Mike Healey. "We want to ensure that people are not intimidated from exercising their free-speech rights."
The trial is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 3A of the U.S. Federal Courthouse, 7th and Grant Streets, in Pittsburgh. Judge Gary L. Lancaster will preside.
The lawsuit, Miller v. City of Pittsburgh, was filed in 2002. ACLU cooperating attorneys Mike Healey and Douglas McKechnie of the law firm Healey & Hornack and ACLU of Pennsylvania lawyer Witold Walczak represent Kenneth Miller, Joel Woller, Michelle Gaffey, and Kevin Mayle.