Daily Adams

Lawsuits

Police Misconduct Worst of February

“So for February we have selected the reported misconduct of Officer Matt Rush from Champaign, Illinois. Last month Precious Jackson filed a lawsuit against Rush and his employer for excessive force when Rush arrested her.  According to the lawsuit, Rush’s actions caused Jackson to lose her unborn baby.  Jackson also says that she begged to…

Suing to Speak 

COLUMBIA, SC A University of South Carolina student who is an activist Libertarian sued the college Tuesday on freedom of speech grounds because it threatened to discipline him for posters used last fall during a free speech event.

Ross Abbott, 21, a USC senior studying business management, filed the federal suit because a university official told Abbott he faced discipline, up to expulsion, over complaints from three students about posters that campus Libertarian organizations displayed at a Nov. 23 “free speech zone” event intended to showcase First Amendment freedoms, according to Catherine Sevcenko, director of litigation for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The posters included images of a swastika displayed at another campus and one that alluded to a suspension last year of a USC student over a photo showing a racial slur written in a campus study room. Shortly after the female student’s suspension, FIRE wrote to USC president Harris Pastides and asserted the suspension was improper and that what she wrote is protected speech.

Via USC sued by student over speech code @ The State.

Lawsuit Over Stifling Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban

Anyone with an oven and a recipe should be able to have a baking business—but that is not the case in Wisconsin, where selling baked goods made in your home kitchen is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines or six months in jail. Wisconsin is one of only two states (the other being New Jersey) to ban the sale of home-baked goods.

Wisconsin’s home-baked-good ban has nothing to do with safety. The state bans home bakers from selling even food the government deems to be “not potentially hazardous” such as cookies, muffins and breads. The state also allows the sale of homemade foods like raw apple cider, maple syrup and popcorn, as well as canned goods such as jams and pickles. In addition, the state allows nonprofit organizations to sell any type of homemade food goods at events up to 12 days a year.

The ban is purely political. Commercial food producers like the Wisconsin Bakers Association are lobbying against a “Cookie Bill”—which would allow the limited sale of home baked goods—in order to protect themselves from competition. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who owns his own commercial food business, even refused to allow the Assembly to vote on a Cookie Bill last session, despite bipartisan support.

That’s why on January 13, 2016, three Wisconsin farmers joined with the Institute for Justice in filing a constitutional lawsuit in state court against Wisconsin’s State Department of Agriculture. The lawsuit will ask the court to strike down this arbitrary home-baked-good ban and allow home bakers to sell home-baked goods—like muffins, cookies and breads—directly to their friends, neighbors and other consumers.

Via Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban @ Institute for Justice.

Rahm Emanuel’s sought to control supposedly independent agency’s communications with press

A day after the settlement was approved, Emanuel’s deputy communications director complained to his staff that an IPRA spokesperson did not report to him before speaking to a New York Times reporter.

“I found out a bit ago that IPRA’s PIO talked to Monica [Davey] about the structure of IPRA and how they operate without checking in with me (and despite the fact I had already reached out to coordinate earlier in the day),” Collins wrote on April 15.

The email is important because it shows that Emanuel’s office was not just suppressing information about McDonald’s death, but also controlling how the agency responsible for investigating police killings speaks to the press about its own processes.

Via Exclusive: Lawyers Went to Rahm Emanuel, Then Quashed the Laquan McDonald Video @ The Daily Beast.

Exclusive: Lawyers Went to Rahm Emanuel, Then Quashed the Laquan McDonald Video @ The Daily Beast

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department also said, “since April of last year the administration has said publicly that the city always intended to release the video as soon as the investigation was complete.”

But the settlement agreement never required the McDonald family’s attorneys to hold the video until an investigation was completed. Instead, over the objections of the McDonald estate, Platt and the city pressed for language that would keep the video hidden far beyond the end of investigations and until as long as a criminal trial was concluded.

Not only do the emails show the effort to cover up what really happened to Laquan McDonald went to the top of the Emanuel administration, they also show the mayor’s office was pulling strings at the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which, as its name indicates, should be independent….

Via Exclusive: Lawyers Went to Rahm Emanuel, Then Quashed the Laquan McDonald Video @ The Daily Beast.

Buying Silence

But there was one big condition: If she wanted to keep the money, Overbey couldn’t talk about how the cops had treated her. This condition, called a nondisparagement clause, is included in around 95 percent of Baltimore city’s police-misconduct settlements.

“The city does it to keep people who have beaten up by the police silent,” said Ben Jealous, former president of the NAACP.

Via Baltimore Buys Victims’ Silence With Settlements For Police Misconduct @ Huffington Post.

Public University Mistreats Another Sex Assault Survivor

Second federal complaint against UW-Whitewater in eighteen months:

Raechel-liska-650-jpg
Raechel Liska, aged 22.  Photo from Channel 3000.

“I got assaulted twice,” Liska said. “Once by my attacker, which was the traumatic, horrific part, but again by the school, which was the betrayal.”

Liska said UWW Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin violated her civil rights by refusing to interview two witnesses and by not accepting either the police report or her medical records stemming from the incident. She also asserts Mackin did not issue a no-contact order against her alleged attacker, even as he retaliated and intimidated her after she spoke to authorities. Further, it was the Army that stepped in and removed her assailant from her classes three months after the incident in question, even after she’d asked the university to do the same multiple times, only to be rebuffed.

“The reason I filed my complaint is because something here needs to change,” she said. “I thought the dean of students would be protecting the students, protecting me. She’s the dean of students. I thought I’d be her priority, but I walked out feeling like protecting the school was her top priority.”

Via Sex assault survivor claims discrimination by university @ WISC-TV Madison, Channel 3000.

Rough Ride Settlement

The Rawlings-Blake administration is poised to pay a woman $95,000 after an alleged 2012 “rough ride” in a Baltimore police van — a practice spotlighted by Freddie Gray’s death.

The city’s spending panel is expected to agree Wednesday to settle a federal lawsuit involving a now-28-year-old woman who claimed she was thrown in the back of a police van, left unbuckled and “maniacally” driven after her arrest at a party in Hampden. Christine Abbott said she was slammed against the van’s wall during the ride, which left her feeling like “a piece of cargo.”

A 350-word memo to the Board of Estimates says the settlement was related to Abbott’s treatment during the arrest. It does not mention all of the allegations from her lawsuit, including her time in the van.

The memo prompted criticism Tuesday that the city was not providing a complete picture of the incident and the allegations of police brutality — an issue on which city officials have promised more transparency.

Via Baltimore to settle lawsuit alleging ‘rough ride’ by police @ Baltimore Sun.

Fighting the Debate Monopoly

September 29, 2015, Washington, DC – 2012 presidential candidates Gov. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, along with the Libertarian and Green parties and their vice-presidential candidates, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, today charging that the exclusion of qualified candidates from the general election presidential debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) violates federal anti-trust laws.

The lawsuit is funded by the Our America Initiative, a not-for-profit advocacy organization, through their Fair Debates project, https://www.fairdebates.com. It was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the Our America Initiative’s attorney Bruce Fein, who served as Associate Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan Administration.

Via Fair Debates lawsuit filed against Commission on Presidential Debates @ Independent Political Report.

Link to complaint.

Fighting for Inclusion

“A group of third-party advocates filed a lawsuit this week in an effort to force the Federal Election Commission to change rules for televised presidential debates that prevent independent candidates from sharing the stage with the Republican and Democratic nominees. According to the group Level the Playing Field, which is backed by wealthy financier Peter…