A Marx Brothers impersonator has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and three of its police officers on allegations that his civil rights were violated when he was arrested "only as reprisal" last summer on the .
Alan Leslie Feiman is seeking more than $25,000 damages for emotional distress and negligence on part of the police. He claims he was wrongly arrested the afternoon of Aug. 13, and that while he was detained for six hours, was denied repeated requests to place phone calls.
According to the suit, Feiman, who claims he was displaying his performance permit, was mimicking comedian Groucho Marx when he asked two police officers, "So where's your work permit?"
The joke, according to Feiman, struck the wrong cord and the officers took his permit and handcuffed him. The performer says in the suit that the officers refused to tell him why he was being arrested.
It was at the Santa Monica Jail that Feiman says he learned he was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public. But he claims he hadn't "consumed an alcoholic beverage in more than 20 years."
His attorney called the arrest a "classic and unlawful 'contempt of cop' arrest."
The lawsuit was filed April 24 in federal court is Los Angeles. Also named in the complaint is then-police Chief Timothy Jackman.
Online court records show no charges were pressed against Feiman.
The courts have asked Feiman, who requested a jury trial, to settle the case through a program called "alternative dispute resolution."
The City Attorney's office, which is representing the officers in the case, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.