By Calvin Palmer
A baseball fan is suing the New York Yankees and New York Police Department after he was ejected from the Yankee Stadium for leaving his seat during God Bless America.
Bradford Campeau-Laurion, 30, of Astoria, Queens, claims he was the victim of religious and political discrimination.
He attended the game against the Boston Red Sox last August and left his seat to go to the bathroom.
Unlike most other Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees seek to prevent fans from leaving their seats during the playing of God Bless America.
Campeau-Laurion was ejected by two police officers when he tried to push past them after one of the officers indicated he could not leave.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sued today on Campeau-Laurion’s behalf at the federal court in Manhattan.
“New York’s finest have no business arresting someone for trying to go to the bathroom at a politically incorrect moment,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the civil liberties group, said in a statement.
Campeau-Laurion said: “I don’t have an issue with the Yankees playing the song. My issue is with the Yankees forcing people to stay in their seats and participate in it.
“Forcing people to participate in an act of patriotism really devalues the freedom our country fought for in the first place.”
The New York Police Department gave a different version of the ejection.
A spokesman claimed that Campeau-Laurion had been observed standing on his seat, cursing and behaving in a disorderly manner and the officers decided to eject him rather than subject others to his “offensive behavior”.