A woman is filing a lawsuit against the Virginia town of Charlottesville, whose police arrester her last year for protesting topless on the Downtown Mall.
Arrested during the August 12 fracas that put the town on the map, Morgan Hopkins was playing guitar with friends in protest, a few blocks from where the rally took place.
Deciding it was too hot to wear clothes, Hopkins and her friends took off their shirts, resulting in an indecent exposure violation and subsequent interaction with Charlottesville Police.
When Hopkins refused to put her top back on, she was arrested.
“I…feel that it was an insult,” says Hopkins.
Taking on her case, attorney Jeff Fogel argues that nudity is not considered indecent exposure under the law, at least technically. In order for indecent exposure to be applies, the case would have to also fall under the category of obscenity- and would still require equal protection rights under Constitutional law.
“The statute does not distinguish between men and women,” says Fogel. “So when the officers arrested her and allowed men who were doing the same exact thing, which was simply being there with their shirts off, it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.”
According to NBC29, Fogel argues that if men can bare chests, women can too.
“If the law had been treated equally, I don’t think we’d even be here today,” says Fogel.
— Hawes Spencer (@HawesSpencer) September 26, 2017
“Emotional distress” was suffered from the act being arrested, according to Hopkins.
The city of Charlottesville has yet to comment on the matter.
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