Ninth Circuit Might Allow Victims of Anti-Trump Riot to Sue San Jose

A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals appears likely to permit a lawsuit filed by Trump supporters against the city of San Jose for injuries sustained in a June 2016 riot, when anti-Trump activists attacked them.

The city had appealed the earlier decision of a federal district to deny the police supervisors qualified immunity from the suit. The case then went to the Ninth Circuit.

According to the Courthouse News Service:

A Ninth Circuit panel appeared poised to allow President Donald Trump supporters pursue their negligence claims against San Jose, California, regarding a dust-up between them and protesters at a campaign rally in 2016.

San Jose’s attorney Matthew Pritchard argued the police officers accused of negligence are entitled to immunity because they couldn’t have known their crowd-control decisions were potentially violating constitutional rights of rally attendees.

Furthermore, Pritchard argued the rally attendees were aware of the potential peril in going to a rally for Trump, who was controversial in San Jose and whose campaign events had been prone to outbreaks of physical conflict.

Harmeet Dhillon, who argued the case on behalf of rally attendees, said the police actively created unnecessary danger by blocking off alternative exits and funneling the crowd into the teeth of a seething mob of anti-Trump protesters.

The riot broke out outside the San Jose Convention Center on June 2, 2016, where then-candidate Donald Trump spoke ahead of the California primary.

As Breitbart News reported at the time, several protesters were attacked on their way out of the venue. “One man was punched to the ground; another was bloodied; and a woman was pelted with eggs and bottles” in full view of the national media.

Breitbart News was present in the early stages of the unrest, and was threatened by radical anti-Trump protesters who burned an American flag.

Some people leaving the rally were chased through the streets and pursued into a nearby parking garage, where they were attacked in their cars.

Police on the scene were permissive with rioters, partly because their primary focus was securing the venue itself.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Democrat, actually blamed Trump for the violence, telling the Associated Press at the time: “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.”

While the Ninth Circuit is typically liberal, the particular panel hearing the case is thought to lean conservative.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Correction: The city, not the plaintiff, brought the appeal.


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