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Charlottesville Verdicts Say "Sue The Bastards/Rioters"
Other Victims of Unpunished Rioters Should Follow This Jury's Lead
This should further encourage - and perhaps even help to provide a blueprint for - victims of many other riots over the past several years to bring civil suits to recover for the damages they suffered, and to deter further criminal actions, especially in situations where known participants in riots were able to walk away without paying for any of the damages they caused, or spending any time in jail, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
This is a good sign, and may encourage other civil legal actions where - as has been proven in case after case and in many cities where protestors engaged in destructive conduct - the criminal law isn't working to deter such criminal conduct, nor to make the perpetrators pay for the harm they caused, says Banzhaf, who has been proposing and developing tactics for such lawsuits.
While everyone has a constitutional right to protest in public, that right clearly does not extend to engaging in serious crimes to draw attention to a cause or grievance, no matter how important or righteous that cause may seem.
As illegal criminal riots by various groups - including the riot in Charlottesville - continue to proliferate, causing serious harm to governmental bodies as well as to innocent third parties, those harmed may no longer be helpless, even when police refuse to take appropriate action and/or prosecutors decline to prosecute, and even when the individuals who actually caused specific harms cannot be conclusively identified, says Banzhaf.
Banzhaf, famous for developing novel winning law suits - including over $12 million from McDonald's over its french fries, and against Spiro Agnew to recover the money he took in bribes - has been called "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer."