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Minister beaten by Seattle police during May Day protest alleges wrongful arrest

A Seattle minister who was bruised and bloodied by police during a December 2011 protest is suing the city, alleging he was wrongly arrested and unduly prosecuted.


Rev. John Michael Helmiere was trying to keep the peace during a Harbor Island protest over low pay rates and poor working conditions for short-haul truck drivers when Seattle police threw him to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face.

Helmiere was then jailed and charged with obstruction and pedestrian interference — charges that were later dismissed. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, attorneys at Carney Gillespie Isitt accuse police of violating his First Amendment rights and using excessive force in the process.

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