Animal Rights Activists Sue Police Over March 2001 Arrest

Animal rights activists Jerry and Pamelyn Vlasak filed a lawsuit this month over their treatment during an animal rights protest in Las Vegas, Nevada, in March 2001.

The Vlasak’s were part of a small protest against Stephens Group, an investment firm that until recently had ties with animal testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences.

The Vlasaks claim they were physically assaulted by police and private security guards.

Why wait more than a year to file the lawsuit? Because in February 2002, one of the officers who arrested them was charged with armed robbery. As the Associated Press put it, “Cal Potter, the Las Vegas lawyer representing the Vlasaks, said the allegations are bolstered by other problems facing the two officers named in the lawsuit.”

Of course the Vlasaks don’t exactly have a spotless record either, including a record of numerous arrests and occasional convictions for their actions in animal rights protests.

A quick search finds Pamelyn Vlasak was arrested in August 1999 at a protest against Circus Vargas. She was eventually convicted of violating a Los Angeles city ordinance and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In August 2000 the Vlasaks were arrested at the Los Angeles Sports Arena protesting the Ringling Brothers Circus.

And the Vlasaks routinely claim that police assault them. Pamelyn claimed that police assaulted her during her 1999 arrest, Jerry claimed that police tied him to a pole and took turns kicking him after a 1997 anti-fur arrest — pretty much every time these folks get arrested, they offer the same litany that they weren’t doing anything wrong (even when they were flagrantly violating the law) and that the police inevitably abused and mistreated them.

That’s a nice schtick that plays well with the No Compromise folks, but courts have so far not fallen for this routine.

Sources:

Animal rights activists file civil rights lawsuit in Las Vegas. Associated Press, May 20, 2002.

6 Arrested, 2 Hurt at LA Sports Arena Circus Protest. No Compromise, August 2, 2000.

Activist sentenced to jail. Laura Tate, Round Up( Los Angeles Pierce College), February 2, 2002.

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