Crowds in the thousands, and protesters, are a common sight along the 2016 presidential campaign trail for businessman Donald Trump. Recently, protesters have become violent, provoking Trump supporters into the need to defend themselves from the relentless assaults of those who come only to disrupt and create trouble. MSN news interviewed a practicing attorney to learn whether or not Trump faces any potential liability when his supporters are goaded into defending themselves from disruptive and violent protesters.
Hermann Walz, an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New York, estimates that The Donald is in very safe territory when it comes to liability for the actions of unrelated people at a Trump for President campaign appearance. Walz elaborated, saying, “Short of Donald Trump saying something like, ‘Get that guy and punch him in the face,’ or something like that, I don’t see that he would have any real liability.”
Walz went just a bit further, using an example of Trump encouraging someone to throw a tomato at someone. If someone in his audience then threw a tomato at another person, it would be a stretch for Trump to be held responsible for the independent actions of another.
While Trump has had protesters at his campaign rallies on many occasions, it has only been recently that protesters have started pushing and shoving Trump’s supporters, seeking a quick fifteen minutes of fame when law enforcement and Secret Service agents remove them from the event.
The first amendment gives Trump supporters the right to rally their support for a political candidate without outsiders, or Trump’s foes, creating a disturbance in his rallies whether it is hate speech, or pushing and shoving, or verbally disrupting and interrrupting a Trump campaign speech. While Americans have the right to peacefully protest, that right extends only to the extent that such a protest does not deny others a right to assemble peacefully.
Any violence at a political rally, or disruptive behavior is not only unlawful, it denies the same free speech rights to those uninterested in the protesters’ message(s). Trump’s opponents have the right to free speech; they just don’t get the opportunity to interfere legally with the free speech rights of others.
How do you feel about the violent protesters recently seen at rallies for Donald Trump? Have you seen a protester yourself? What happened, and last, whose side would you be on: Donald Trump’s or the protesters?