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Topless Protesters Get $150,000 Settlement

On October 29, 2008, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) agreed to settle a false arrest suit for $150,000.

The suit, filed by Sheba Love and Sherry Glaser, members of Breasts Not Bombs, alleged that Love and Glaser were unlawfully arrested for protesting topless in front of the California State Capitol on November 7, 2005, the day before an election.

Love and Glaser had been issued a permit to protest, but were told that they and other female protesters would be arrested by the CHP if they took their tops off. Prosecutors ultimately chose not to pursue charges, deciding Love and Glaser’s conduct “had a political, not sexual, intent.” In all, Love was detained for 12 hours, Glaser for 8.

Aside from agreeing to pay $150,000 to settle the case, the CHP also agreed to train its officers concerning the right of protesters not to be arrested, harassed, or intimidated based on the content of their speech or their use of symbolic speech.

The plaintiffs were represented by Matthew Kumin of San Francisco.

See: Love v. California Highway Patrol Commissioner, No. 06 AS04799 (Sup. Ct. Cal. – Sacramento County).

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Related legal case

Love v. California Highway Patrol Commissioner