Judge backs Occupy Nashville members claiming free speech violated

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled in favor of members of the Occupy Nashville movement who claimed their free speech rights were violated when they were arrested while protesting in 2011 on War Memorial Plaza.

U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger wrote in an order issued on Wednesday that the seven plaintiffs' rights to engage in constitutionally protected free speech activity was violated when they were arrested based on a hastily written rule that banned camping on the plaza.

The plaintiffs sued Gov. Bill Haslam, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Commissioner of General Services Steven Cates.

David Briley, an attorney representing the Occupy Nashville group, called the ruling is a resounding victory for the principles of free speech and protest.


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