Conservative activist files $10M suit against city of Minneapolis

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May 2, 2013
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

John Gilmore, a conservative activists and blogger, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis over his June 16, 2011 arrest on Nicollet Mall in which he was accused of confronting two women in traditional Muslim dress.

Gilmore’s complaint, filed on April 30, alleges that the city’s “baseless” arrest created a narrative of Gilmore as “bigoted, intolerant and prejudiced toward Muslims, Muslim women in particular,” a narrative he claims is false and has continued to damage his reputation.

Gilmore was arrested after a dustup with several Netroots Nation attendees who had been at a conference in the Minneapolis Convention Center. Gilmore attended Right Online, a nearby conservative gathering that boasted Andrew Breitbart as the star attraction.

According to the complaint, Gilmore only asked the women for their opinion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-Dutch activist who has been critical of Islam.

Witnesses, according to media reports, say Gilmore made several offensive comments, asking the women why they were in the United States and why they wanted to change the country. The latter part of the confrontation was caught on video.

Gilmore’s complaint says the activist left the “aggressive” crowd and went to dinner at the Newsroom. Gilmore says he had just placed a vegetarian order when police “manhandled” him out of the restaurant in his Birkenstocks. Officers then ripped up Gilmore's Minnesota Conservatives sign, according to the complaint. 

After 30 minutes in a squad car, the complaint alleges that a call from a sergeant told the officers to arrest him on a disorderly conduct charge. He spent a few hours in jail, he said, and was released on a $50 bail.

The charge was dropped in March 2012, according to the complaint.

Gilmore is a high profile conservative attorney who lives in St. Paul. He is representing Andy Parrish, the former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann. Parrish has filed an affidavit alleging that Bachmann paid an Iowa state senator to work on her campaign.

Asked how Gilmore arrived at the $10 million figure, Gimore’s attorney Mark Miller referred to the complaint.

“Got to refer you to the allegations in the complaint. They are pretty straightforward as to the serious affect this has had upon him,” Miller said.