HOPEWELL — A lawsuit filed last week in the federal court in Richmond claims a Hopewell man had his rights violated in an arrest last year.
The Rutherford Institute, based in Charlottesville, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Brandon Howard against former Hopewell Police Officer John Hunter.
“... The actions taken against Howard violated his constitutional rights to lawfully engage in protected speech, and to lawfully posses a weapon as guaranteed by the First and Second Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit states.
On Aug. 26, of last year, around 5 p.m. Howard arrived at the highway overpass located in Hopewell, which overlooks Interstate 295 North.
Howard stood on the shoulder and displayed a, six foot by four foot, sign reading “Impeach Obama.” While holding the sign, he had an AR-15 rifle on his shoulder as well as .380 caliber pistol in a holster on his waist. The lawsuit also states that while Howard was on the overpass, he did not “draw or brandish either weapon.”
According to the lawsuit, Howard stood at the overpass for 30 minutes and “at no point during this time was Howard approached by an citizens, and Howard did not directly engage any citizens about his protest.”