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Giants fans claim Levi’s Stadium violated First Amendment right to heckle their team

Two Giants fans are alleging their First Amendment rights were violated last year when they were arrested at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. for heckling their own team. 

Brothers Patrick and Kyle Flynn made these allegations in a federal lawsuit that was filed in San Jose last week, according to The Mercury News. 

They also allege the officers pushed one of them over a railing and shocked him with a Taser during the Nov. 12, 2017 game. 

During the second half of the game, they yelled at players, “you (expletive) suck” and gave them the middle finger. Santa Clara police officer Nicholas Cusimano told them to stop and they complied, but the suit claims they were not warned “further similar behavior would lead to ejection or arrest.”

So when the 49ers scored another touchdown, the brothers again flipped off the players on the sideline while yelling expletives, according to the lawsuit.

Cusimano called for the brothers to be ejected but the suit claims Kyle Flynn did not leave his seat because he believed he had not done anything to warrant an ejection before he was grabbed and choked by officers. 

Kyle was taken to the stadium’s temporary holding facility and placed in a totaly body restraint known as a WRAP. 

The lawsuit says Patrick protested his brother’s arrest and kneeled at the railing before he was also allegedly grabbed, choked and hit in the hand with a baton by Special Events Officer Theodore Rodgers.

A third plaintiff, Lauren Alcarez, attempted to intervene and told Rodgers to “stop hitting him,” the suit says, and attempted to grab the baton from Rodgers when he did not listen. 

Rodgers elbowed Alcarez in the chest and shoulder, according to the lawsuit, and she was also arrested. 

As she was handcuffed, Patrick was pushed over the railing 10 feet onto the field where he was pinned and allegedly tased and kneed to the face, according to the lawsuit. 

Both Patrick and at least one officer appeared bloodied from the altercation, per an NJ.com report of the incident last year. 

A witness also told NJ.com last year that one of the brothers attempted to spit on an officer while resisting arrest. 

The Mercury News was unable to reach the city of Santa Clara for comment. 

Kyle Flynn was initially charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, which was dismissed by the Santa Clara County District. It was unclear if Patrick or Alcarez were charged with a crime. 

The lawsuit claims the officers acted out of anger over the brothers’ “exercise of their protected First Amendment rights.” 

Kyle, Patrick and Alcarez all claim “physical and mental pain, shock and distress” due to the officers’ “excessive and unreasonable actions,” according to the lawsuit. 

Original article: https://www.sny.tv/giants/news/giants-fans-claim-levis-stadium-violated-first-amendment-right-to-heckle-their-team/302193740

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