Atheist Group Files Lawsuit Against Rapert

(c)Dixie Knight Photo

A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against long-serving state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, by local members of national atheist group who say the Arkansas lawmaker violated their constitutional rights by blocking them on social media.

Betty Jo Fernau, Catherine Shoshone, Robert Barringer and Karen Dempsey, all members of American Atheists Inc., filed the civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against the Faulkner County Republican lawmaker for violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Arkansas state law.

The 56-page, filed on behalf of American Atheists members in Arkansas, including the four plaintiffs, say they were unconstitutionally blocked from Rapert’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts after they expressed viewpoints different than his on several issues. According to the complaint, Rapert also blocked the plaintiffs due to their atheist views. The four plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and seeking a court order to participate on the Arkansas senator’s social media forums. The suit is also requesting nominal and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.    MORE

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