Moira Johnston is a courageous crusader and an activist that is working to spread the all-important message that it’s legal for women to be topless in New York City. Instead of championing her cause, the police have actually tried to oppress her rights by detaining her for her lawful activity, reports the Gothamist.
Shame on you officer. Shame on you.
The right to bear bare chests stems from a 1992 court decision that held that NY Penal Code § 245.01 did not apply to the conduct in that case, namely having a topless picnic. The reason was, men were allowed to flash the pecs, yet women weren’t.
If Moira Johnston really wants to make a difference, she should do what all great activists do: contact an NYC discrimination lawyer and sue! Ask if you can sue the cops for violating your constitutional rights. Ask if you can sue them for false imprisonment.
It wouldn’t be the first time such a suit was filed. According to the New York Daily News, in 2007, Jill Coccaro settled a case stemming from a 2005 arrest for $29,000. She was arrested for her topless stroll on a hot night on the Lower East Side.
Though court opinions are written in legalese, it still is pretty clear: women can go topless in New York City. Arresting someone for legal activity is a violation of their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search or seizure. The remedy is to file a Section 1983 action.
The quickest way to a police department’s brain is their budget. A lawsuit will hopefully get the message across to all cops that due to equal protection, women are free to bear bare breasts.
- Find a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- When is an Arrest a Legal Arrest? (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- When Can I Sue Police for False Arrest? (FindLaw’s Injured Blog)
- Police Misconduct Case: Did the Lawyers Beat the Cops? (FindLaw’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- NYC Discrimination Attorney (FindLaw)