by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Editors at the Washington Examiner highlight an important lawsuit involving a high-profile East Coast city.
In the summer of 2020, the increasingly partisan and left-wing corporate media refused to acknowledge the nation was being consumed by violent riots. Because there were thousands of protests, many of them lawful and small, the media chose to call them “mostly peaceful” — even though several hundred large protests were documented as violent riots.
From the media’s perspective, it was all for a good cause. So, who cares if a few people are killed, a few billion dollars of property damage is done, and tens of thousands die from a COVID summer surge as a direct result?
In many cities, mayors and police chiefs deliberately had their police patrols stand back and let the damage happen. They wanted to give the rioters, including the violent fascists ironically known as antifa , room to wreak havoc, set buildings on fire, and beat up anyone caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Those mayors and city leaders may soon regret that decision, thanks to an obscure federal court decision handed down last week. The decision pertained to the well-documented Baltimore riots of April 27, 2015. These riots followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
A group of small business and property owners, outraged by the city’s neglect of their establishments and refusal to provide taxpayer services, sued under Maryland’s Riot Act. That law shields municipalities from liability if they were either unaware a riot was likely or were unable to prevent “theft, damage or destruction.” Even then, a city that uses “reasonable diligence and all the powers entrusted to them to prevent or suppress the riot” cannot be sued.
On Aug. 26, Federal District Judge Stephanie Gallagher refused to dismiss the case against Baltimore. In her ruling, she maintained the plaintiffs brought enough evidence to create a genuine question of fact for a jury to decide what the city knew and whether it did what it could to keep the peace.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s governor will have to decide soon whether to endorse a new legislative measure target violent riots in this state.