EXODUS fan James Evans, who was previously arrested and charged with “making threats online” for posting song lyrics from the Bay Area thrashers, is now suing the authorities who locked him up.
In 2014, Evans posted lyrics on his Facebook page from an EXODUS song “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer) written about the Virginia Tech school shooting. Because of the school-related content, local law enforcement officials launched an investigation. In doing so, law enforcement officials learned the post consisted of song lyrics and that Evans had, in the past, posted lyrics from other songs online. And they questioned Evans, who fully cooperated with their investigation.
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, but 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.”
In an interview with Full Metal Jackie, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt stated about Evans‘s arrest: “It goes to show you that we live in a very paranoid society, and in a lot of ways rightly so, because of so many tragedies — non-stop shootings and such. But my problem with James Evans being arrested primarily lies in the fact that it would’ve taken, like, 20 minutes of research to realize that this guy was not a threat. He wasn’t a depressed 17-year-old posting diatribe after diatribe on Facebook about how bad he hates his school and hates his classmates and then the posted lyrics, and I’d see it. He’s a 30-year-old man, and I bet if you searched his Facebook page, you’d find nothing but other metal references and typical Facebook stuff. It does show you that the written word can be frightening to some.”