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Lawsuit Dropped Over All-Star Game Ordinance

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has dropped a lawsuit challenging a Minneapolis ordinance limiting other events around the time of next month’s Major League Baseball All-Star game, the ACLU said Wednesday.

The group sued on May 8 on behalf of organizers of a one-day festival that fell within the original 15-day period, arguing the limits were unconstitutional restrictions on free speech. But soon after the lawsuit was filed, the City Council shortened the window of time surrounding the July 15 game during which other events in the city can be limited.

The original ordinance, adopted in February, said the city wouldn’t issue permits between July 5 and July 20 in an area that includes downtown Minneapolis, without additional MLB approval.

The ACLU sued on behalf of organizers of a July 19 festival to commemorate the 80th anniversary of a deadly Teamsters strike. In 1934, Minneapolis police shot striking truckers, killing two.

On May 9, the City Council shortened the so-called “clean zone” limits from 15 days to seven, ending July 16.

“Our First Amendment rights should not (be) held hostage by private corporations, and we are glad that the City of Minneapolis recognized that and made the appropriate changes to the resolution,” ACLU Minnesota executive director Charles Samuelson said in a statement Wednesday.

Samuelson said his organization agreed to dismiss its lawsuit “without prejudice,” which would allow the ACLU to re-file it if future problems arise.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said city officials are pleased with the ACLU’s decision.

“It’s always been the City’s intention to follow all requirements of the First Amendment, and we met with folks from the ACLU to discuss their concerns,” Segal said in a statement.

According to the original ordinance, the purpose was to keep the All-Star game’s focus on baseball and “to prevent ambush marketing activity and other activities with the potential to distract from the event.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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