Friday, November 30, 2012
Christian Proselytizers May Add Arab-American Chamber of Commerce As Sec. 1983 Defendant
In Acts 17 Apologetics v. City of Dearborn, (ED MI, Nov. 27, 2012), a Michigan federal district court ruled that the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) may be added as a defendant in a 42 USC Section 1983 civil rights action brought against the city of Dearborn, its mayor and police officials by a Christian group whose purpose is to evangelize Muslims. Members of the group, Acts 17 Apologetics, were acquitted on breach of the peace charges that had been filed against them for proselytizing at the Arab International Festival. (See prior posting.) The Christian group then sued, alleging, among other things, a civil conspiracy to violate their 1st, 4th and 14th Amendment rights. In allowing plaintiffs to file an amended complaint to add AACC as a defendant, the court held that a private party such as AACC could be found to be a state actor if it was jointly engaged with state officials in an action taken by the officials. American Freedom Law Center issued a press release announcing the decision.