The time has come for some ridiculous news. A 31-Year-Old man named James Evans was arrested last year for posting song lyrics on Facebook! God forbid! His particular song of choice was the Exodus track “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)”, a response to the Virginia Tech shootings. The particular lyrics he posted were, “Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate. Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate.”
Let’s just say there was a strong reaction from the local school system and Mr. Evans ended up being arrested and held for 8 days. For song lyrics! Upon his release, James had the following to say:
“It’s nonsense. I feel like my civil rights have been violated. You know first amendment freedom of speech out the window. Even all the guys I was in the cell with they thought it was nonsense themselves. I had several officials tell me it was nonsense that there was no reason why I should have even been here.”
Exodus themselves responded to the situation by saying:
“The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society. James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it. The song ‘Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)’ was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of fucked up behavior. It was the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho that was the subject and inspiration to write the song, one in which we put the brakes on playing it live after the Sandy Hook shooting, as we did not want to seem insensitive.”
“As some of us in Exodus are parents, of course these things hit close to home, it’s every parent’s worst fear. These moments are the stuff of nightmares, and life, as well as music, isn’t always pretty. But when we start to overreact to things like lyrics by any band, including Exodus, and start arresting people, we are caving in to paranoia and are well on our way to becoming an Orwellian society.”
Now, Mr. Evans is taking action with a lawsuit. This is being done in association with the American Civil Liberties Union Of Kentucky against Muhlenberg County, Kentucky and police officer Michael A Drake.
“The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of James Evans, the Muhlenberg County man previously arrested and charged with making threats online for posting song lyrics from the heavy metal band Exodus. In 2014, Evans posted on his Facebook page lyrics from a song written about the Virginia Tech school shooting. Because of the school-related content, local law enforcement officials launched an investigation. In doing so, law enforcement officials learned the post consisted of song lyrics and that Evans had, in the past, posted lyrics from other songs online. And they questioned Evans who fully cooperated with their investigation.
Nevertheless, a Muhlenberg County Police officer sought and obtained a warrant for Evans’ arrest. But the affidavit submitted for the warrant mentioned nothing about the investigation or the facts that were uncovered. The ACLU represented Evans in the criminal case which was ultimately dismissed, but not before Evans spent several days in custody for simply posting the lyrics online.
In explaining the ACLU’s decision to file suit on Mr. Evans’ behalf, ACLU of Ky. Cooperating Attorney Brenda Popplewell stated, “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.” She added, “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.”
ACLU of Kentucky Cooperating Attorney Brenda Popplewell and ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director William E. Sharp represent Mr. Evans.”
Have a listen to the song in question.