Patriotism taken to horrifying extremes, or a rogue fan intent on mocking decent society? Yankees fan Bradford Campeau-Laurion has his side of the story, the cops have theirs. Now, a court will decide.
It's the story that shook the nation* from this past August, as Campeau-Laurion, a web producer from Queens, was ejected from Yankee Stadium because he attempted to use the restroom during the playing of "God Bless America." That's his story, anyway. New York City police say that he was ejected for being rowdy and "reeking of alcohol." After ruminating over the incident for seven months, Campeau-Laurion has decided to sue. Fortunately the New York Civil Liberties Union is here to calm the waters make sense of it all.
Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said it was a "troubling example of compelled patriotism" to force fans to remain in the stands for the playing of the song.
"It's patriotism being imposed on people on a mass scale," he said. "It's the first person we know of who's actually been physically thrown out of Yankee Stadium, but we certainly know of many other people who have expressed concern about the policy."
Campeau-Laurion's lawsuit contends that his constitutional rights were violated under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendments. He's suing the NYPD, the New York Yankees, the City of New York and the two police officers who ejected him. City lawyer Muriel Goode-Trufant said the city hadn't seen the lawsuit but planned to review it thoroughly.
So will this become a test case on the Yankees' practice of restricting movement during the playing of this song? Could it carry all the way to the Supreme Court, and eventually become a feel-good movie like Amistad?
And what better way to celebrate opening day at the new Yankee Stadium than with aggressive litigation? If anyone in attendance today has any observations on restricted movement during "God Bless America," please write in.
* = Did not actually shake nation.