'By God's Grace We Live' sign holder sues NOPD claiming 18 false arrests

Michelle Massey Jan. 31, 2011, 6:25am


A man who sits on the corners of Metairie Road and Interstate 10 and Washington Avenue and Interstate 10 in New Orleans is suing the New Orleans Police Department for falsely arresting him 18 times in the past five years.

Hennie Wooten also filed suit against the city, former Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley, Police Chief Warren Riley, Police Chief Ronal Serpas and officer R. Daniels on Jan. 23 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to his complaint, Wooten exercises his right to free speech by holding signs that read, "By God's Grace We Live! Go Saint All the Way."

He states he was arrested 18 times between August 2006 and May 23, 2010 for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech. Wooten also accuses officer Daniels of committing battery during the process of arresting him on May 23, 2010.

He is asking for more than $100,000 in damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, humiliation, aggravation, anxiety, inconvenience, fear, fright and intimidation, deprivation of rights, privileges and immunities, punitive and exemplary damages, lost wages, diminished work capacity, court costs and attorney's fees.

Wooten is represented by Edwin M. Shorty, Jr., Tony Dooley, Michael J. Hall and Hope L. Harper of Shorty, Dooley & Hall in New Orleans.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-CV-00145

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