Exodus fan sues over lyric arrest

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An Exodus fan who was arrested for posting song lyrics online is suing the authorities who locked him up.

James Evans spent eight days behind bars last year after he posted lyrics from the Exodus song Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer). He was charged with making felony ‘terrorist threatenings’ and faced between five and 10 years behind bars.

The lyrics include the paragraph: “Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate. Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate.”

The case against him was later dropped and the charges erased from his record, while Exodus guitarist Gary Holt described the incident as a paranoid over-reaction.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Evans against Muhlenberg County and police officer Michael A Drake. Drake is charged with making a false declaration as he sought to obtain an arrest warrant for Evans.

ACLU lawyer Brenda Popplewell says: “This case is not only about Mr Evans’ right to engage in non-threatening speech online, but also his right to be free from unlawful police tactics in securing his arrest and prosecution for a crime he did not commit.

“We look forward to representing Mr Evans in this case, and we hope that by doing so we will not only vindicate his rights but help ensure that others’ rights are protected in the future.”