Baseball Fan Settles Claim in ‘Compelled Patriotism’ Case

Aug 14, 2009

A Major League Baseball fan has settled with the City of New York and the New York Yankees, after an incident in which he was allegedly booted from the stadium after leaving his seat during the playing of “God Bless America.”
Bradford Campeau-Laurion, with the legal assistance of the New York Civil Liberties Union, reportedly received $10,000 for the incident, while the NYCLU got $12,000 in legal fees.
Campeau-Laurion described the incident as follows to a local television station:
He got up to go to the bathroom and was confronted by a NYPD officer, who told him that he would have to wait until the song was finished. The plaintiff told the officer he couldn’t wait. The officer, then, allegedly “pinned my arm behind my back,” Campeau-Laurion said. “He shoved me out the front gate and told me get out of their country if I didn’t like it.”
At least initially, the officer said the ejection had nothing to do with the song, claiming they observed “a male standing on his seat, cursing, using inappropriate language and acting in a disorderly manner, while reeking of alcohol, and decided to eject him rather than subject others to his offensive behavior.”
There was no admission of liability in the settlement. Further, a stipulation and order suggested that restrictions on fan movement not only be enforced during the playing of “God Bless America,” but also during the entire course of the game.
No matter, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman was pleased with the ruling, suggesting in a statement that: “This settlement ensures that the new Yankee Stadium will be a place for baseball, not compelled patriotism.”
Christopher Dunn, NYCLU associate legal director and lead counsel in the case added: “Neither the Yankees nor the NYPD can force people to engage in acts of political loyalty. As a result of our lawsuit, fans can now go to a ballgame at Yankee Stadium knowing they will not be subjected to NYPD-enforced patriotism.”
Campeau-Laurion v. Kelly et al., Case No. 1:09-CV-03790 (S.D.N.Y), July 6, 2009.


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