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Attorney for Topless Woman Arrested on August 12 Says First Amendment Right Violated

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Attorney Jeff Fogel and Morgan Hopkins Attorney Jeff Fogel and Morgan Hopkins
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Another lawsuit has been filed that stems from the chaos from August 12.

However, this one is a little different. A Charlottesville woman claims she was wrongly arrested after protesting that day while topless on the Downtown Mall.

Morgan Hopkins was playing guitar with her friends, both male and female, on the Downtown Mall that day just a couple blocks from where the rally took place. She says she was hot and that they all went ahead and took their shirts off without giving it a second thought.

Hopkins says two Charlottesville police officers approached them and told her she was breaking the law by indecent exposure. When she refused to put her shirt back on, they arrested her.

"I also feel that it was an insult," says Hopkins.

Hopkins's attorney, Jeff Fogel, says nudity is not technically considered indecent exposure under the law. For it to be considered that, it would have to fall under the category of obscenity.

Fogel also says her right was violated under equal protection of the law since the men she was with were not required to put their shirts back on.

"The statute does not distinguish between men and women,” says Fogel. “So when the officers arrested her and allowed men who were doing the same exact thing, which was simply being there with their shirts off, it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution."

Fogel says if male chests are not deemed inappropriate, then females' chests have to be held to the same legal standard. He also says Hopkins’ First Amendment right to peacefully demonstrate was violated.

"If the law had been treated equally, I don't think we'd even be here today," says Fogel.

Hopkins says she has suffered emotional distress from the arrest and just wants women to have the same demonstrative rights as men.

The city of Charlottesville has not yet responded to a request for comment.