Ninth Circuit panel unanimously backs lawsuit against San Jose police who stood by and watched attacks on Trump supporters
Normally, suing police for failing to prevent crime is not allowed by courts. But a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just allowed a lawsuit against the City of San Jose and its police department to proceed, despite this general presumption (called “qualified immunity”) that police cannot be held responsible for failing to prevent crime.
News media, both local and national, watched and recorded as San Jose police stood aside as people leaving a Trump rally in San Jose were heinously assaulted by anti-Trump thugs. The Washington Post at the time (June 2016) reported:
Protests outside a Donald Trump rally in downtown San Jose spun out of control Thursday night when some demonstrators attacked the candidate’s supporters.
Protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs and stole “Make America Great” hats off supporters’ heads before burning the hats and snapping selfies with the charred remains.
Several people were caught on camera punching Trump supporters. At least one attacker was arrested, according to CNN, although police did not release much information.
Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle explains the Ninth Circuit’s logic in allowing the lawsuit to proceed:
If the allegations are true, “the officers acted with deliberate indifference to a known and obvious danger” and violated the Trump supporters’ constitutional rights,” said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
After the rally at the McEnery Convention Center, police directed those in attendance to leave from a single exit. There, according to the lawsuit, they were ordered to head out onto a street where hundreds of anti-Trump protesters were waiting, even though a safer route and other exits were available.
They funneled the Trump-supporters into a space dominated by hostile demonstrators who already had been violent. In my opinion, this constitutes collaboration in the violence.
The court decision wrote:
[T]he attendees alleged sufficiently that the officers increased the danger to them by shepherding them into a crowd of violent protesters and that the officers acted with deliberate indifference to that danger. The district court therefore correctly denied the officers qualified immunity.
While San Jose may appeal to the Supreme Court, delaying the lawsuit from proceeding, once court proceedings begin, the extensive documentation of the violence with police watching will be powerful and persuasive evidence. Here is a screen grab illustrating that point from a YouTube video (hat tip: Breitbart):
The lawyer for the plaintiffs is Harmeet Dhillon, a hero of mine. In addition to being the Republican national committeeman from California, she represents James Damore in his lawsuit against Google for firing him over critical views expressed about diversity. She richly deserves a large contingency fee if these lawsuits succeed and result in substantial judgments against wealthy defendants who discriminate on the basis of political preferences.
I have to wonder: given two sensible decisions of late (this is the other one, affirming a Second Amendment right to open carry), has the Ninth Circuit been affected by the need to wade through poop and dirty drug needles getting to its courthouse in San Francisco and decided that leftist madness has gone too far?