Millcreek Township Pays $17,500 to Settle Lawsuit Over Anti-Trump Tirade Arrest

Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania – A motorist in Millcreek Township has received a settlement of $17,500 in a federal lawsuit he filed against the township’s police department. Thomas Sebastian was arrested by Millcreek police in September 2022 after shouting obscenities about former President Donald Trump while driving. He was charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, but was later acquitted. Sebastian then sued the township and the two police officers involved in his arrest, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, and 14th Amendment rights. The case has now been settled for the sum of $17,500.

Sebastian’s arrest came after a caller reported his erratic driving and profane comments about Trump. The police followed Sebastian to his apartment and took him into custody. However, at his summary trial, Sebastian argued that he had the right to express his political views while driving. The district judge agreed and acquitted him of all charges.

In the lawsuit, Sebastian claimed that his arrest violated his constitutional rights to free speech and protection against unlawful arrest and use of force. The township denied these claims, asserting that the police officers acted in good faith and were justified in taking Sebastian into custody.

The settlement agreement, which prohibits the parties from commenting on the case, states that Sebastian will receive $17,500. The agreement does not disclose how much the township and its insurer paid as part of the settlement.

This case highlights the tension between free speech and law enforcement’s responsibility to maintain public order. While citizens have the right to express their political views, the police have a duty to respond to reports of potentially dangerous behavior.

Overall, the settlement brings an end to a legal battle that raised important questions about the limits of free speech and the conduct of law enforcement. Sebastian will receive compensation for his ordeal, but the agreement does not require the township or its police department to admit any liability or wrongdoing.