Court Holds Victims of Baltimore Riots Can "Sue the Bastards"
Legal Liability Premised on Government Decision to Let Riots Continue
Since the police and the criminal justice system failed in many jurisdictions to protect innocent citizens from the illegal destructive actions of demonstrators, civil tort actions for damages - against both the responsible municipality and the individual criminal rioters - may be the only way to achieve justice, and to deter future instances where authorities may likewise decide, as a matter of policy, to let the criminals run rampant, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
The judge ruled that the law permitted such a civil tort action for damages caused during a riot, and that the plaintiffs' evidence was sufficient to convince a jury to make a monetary award.
Since media reports have indicated that other cities faced with criminal actions by rioters (e.g. wanton destruction of property, looting, arson, physical assaults on people, etc.) likewise stood back and did little or nothing to stop the illegal acts, similar lawsuits against other cities and their mayors might also be possible.
The right to peacefully protest is guaranteed by the Constitution, but that does not include a right to engage in looting, wanton destruction of property, arson, and physical attacks on police or innocent third parties, and cities which don't act to prevent criminal conduct to promote a cause can and should be held responsible to fullest extent of the law.
Banzhaf has been called d "a King of Class Action Lawsuits," as well as "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer." and "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars."