(Reuters) - A man who was arrested in the Supreme Court’s museum corridor for wearing a jacket emblazoned with the slogan “Occupy Everywhere” is suing the federal government over the incident.
Fitzgerald Scott was looking at exhibitions in the court in Washington, D.C., in January when a police officer asked him to remove the jacket, according to a suit filed in federal district court in Washington on Wednesday.
“Occupy Everywhere” is a slogan for the Occupy movement, an international protest movement against social and economic inequality.
A second officer told Scott the jacket was “a sign, a demonstration” that he could not wear inside the court without being arrested for unlawful entry, the suit said. When Scott said that he didn’t understand, he was arrested.
Federal prosecutors later dismissed the charge, but Scott is now seeking damages from the government. He argues that he should have been allowed to remain on the property and that his jacket constituted “pure speech” protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
Scott, who has worked as a city planner for the City of Clearwater, Florida, is a former U.S. Marine.
The Supreme Court’s Public Information Office did not immediately return a request for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment on the complaint.
In a famous free speech ruling, Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court in 1971 overturned the conviction of a man for wearing a jacket that bore the words “Fuck the Draft” while inside a Los Angeles courthouse corridor. He had been charged with disturbing the peace.
The latest case is Scott v. USA, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 12-1696.
Reporting By Terry Baynes in New York; Editing by Paul Simao