Over a year ago – on March 1, 2016 – three anti-Trump protesters were physically assaulted by the then candidate’s rabid supporters during a campaign rally in Louisville, KY. Captured on video and widely broadcast throughout the remainder of the campaign, it is now the subject of a lawsuit brought by the victims against the Trump campaign for “inciting violence against protesters.”
In the video, two women and a man – Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau – are shoved and punched repeatedly by audience members with Trump pointing at the victims and urging the crowd to “get ’em out of here.” The now-president also kept going; waxing poetic over a time when people didn’t “have to be so nice.”
At the same time, Nwanguma – who is an African-American – was victim to racial, ethnic and sexist slurs from the crowd.
Witnesses identified Matthew Heimbach, Alvin Bamberger and a third unnamed assailant as the aggressors in the incident.
Bamberger, who was wearing a Korean War Veterans Association uniform, has since apologized to Association, admitting to having “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit” after “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out.”
Trump’s lawyer’s have tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing that Trump did not intend for supporters to use force – even though his instructions persisted throughout the assault and he refused to denounce or condemn the behavior.
However, Federal Judge David J. Hale in Louisville ruled Friday that the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters can proceed.
“It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force,” the judge wrote. “It was an order, an instruction, a command.”
In examining the case, Hale found evidence supporting the claim that the assault was a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s actions. He also, noted that the Supreme Court has ruled out constitutional protections for speech that incites violence.
Trump’s lawyers insist that they cannot be held liable because, well protestors should assume their own risk. However, Hale that under the law, every person has a duty to every other person to use care to prevent foreseeable injury.
“In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that their harm was foreseeable and that the Trump Defendants had a duty to prevent it.”
In a somewhat foreseeable twist, one of the attackers – Matthew Heimbach – is associated with a white nationalist group and is on record as having made statements about how a Trump presidency could advance the hate group’s agenda. Heimbach has sought to have this detail dismissed from the lawsuit; another motion denied by Judge Hale.Click here for reuse options!
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