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ACLU of Kentucky Files Lawsuit Over Exodus Fan’s Arrest

Gary Holt
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

In September of last year, we reported about the Exodus fan who was arrested after posting lyrics from the band’s song “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer).” James Evans was accused of threatening to kill students and/or staff at a school after he wrote on his Facebook page: “Student bodies lying dead in the halls/ a blood splattered treatise of hate/ Class dismissed is my hypothesis/ gun fire ends the debate.”

While Evans was arrested and held for eights days at a Kentucky county detention center, all charges against him were eventually dropped after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky defended him, citing he was protected under the First Amendment. Now, the ACLU of Kentucky has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Evans because of his arrest.

Attorney Brenda Popplewell explains why the ACLU of Kentucky is pursing a lawsuit as follows: “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.”

Shortly after the incident, Exodus’ guitarist Gary Holt recently talked with Loudwire Nights host Full Metal Jackie about the arrest. Holt said, “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. My problem with James Evans being arrested primarily lies in the fact that it would’ve taken 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 posted lyrics, then I’d see it. He’s a 30-year-old man. I bet if you searched his Facebook page, you’d find nothing but other metal references and typical Facebook stuff. It does show you the written word can be frightening to some.”

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