Stanford Univ. threatened with lawsuit, but what about suing the leaders of the protest?
We have reported extensively on the dangerous tactic of blockading the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge, including abandoning cars and draping a Palestinian flag across the roadway at the highest span point.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists were trapped on the bridge, with no way out and no way for emergency vehicles to exit.
While ostensibly a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day #BlackLivesMatter protest, the event was completely hijacked by anti-Israel activists:
- Anti-Israel activists block San Mateo Bridge
- Anti-Israel activists caused car crashes on San Mateo Bridge
- Anti-Israel San Mateo Bridge blockaders: Police violated our rights!
In a recent post, I noted that this how dangerous this tactic was, and how it differed from other protest road blockages:
While the protest ostensibly was about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it was hijacked as so many such protests are by the anti-Israel contingent, just like in Ferguson and to a lesser extent in New York City during the Eric Garner protests.
Subsequent to that initial report, we have learned that it was much worse than originally thought. The tactics used were designed to cause maximum traffic disruption and mayhem, including protester cars being abandoned on the roadway, resulting in several car crashes and emergency vehicles being blocked.
The activists used a dangerous tactic of blocking both directions initially, making the scene inaccessible initially to emergency vehicles…
It’s nothing short of a miracle that there were no serious injuries and that no ambulances had to be redirected, as happened in Boston, or worse, were stuck in the traffic jam.
It turns out my fears were realized, as the parents of a three-year old girl in medical distress have threatened suit against Stanford University, whose students constituted most of the blockaders (h/t Instapundit via The College Fix).
The Stanford Daily student newspaper reports:
The University received an email shortly after the Silicon Shutdown protest on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, “expressing concern and threatening to file a lawsuit,” according to an email to The Daily from Brad Hayward, senior director of strategic communications for the University….
According to a source familiar with the content of the email, the email was written by an attorney on behalf of a family that was on the bridge at the time. A 3-year-old girl was allegedly experiencing medical distress, and the protest blocked the family’s route to the hospital.
At publication time, the University had not been served with any such lawsuit.
University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin wrote in an email to The Daily that the University had also received other complaints from motorists and the general public regarding the protest.
“The protest was not a University sanctioned event, and the Silicon Shutdown group is not a University organization or recognized student group,” Lapin wrote. “The case of the Silicon Shutdown participants is a matter being investigated and prosecuted by the CHP and the San Mateo County District Attorney.”
I hope the parents of the girl sue — but not necessarily the University, unless more direct involvement is shown. The protest leaders, need to be held accountable for what was intended to be and was easily foreseeable as creating a dangerous situation. If there is a legitimate legal basis, the leadership and students participating in this unlawful trapping
Police also need to consider more than mere violations — the motorists intentionally were unlawfully imprisoned on the bridge. This was not a protest that incidentally caused disruption and traffic, it was a protest designed to trap people with no way out high above the water.
If true that a 3-year old girl in medical distress was trapped, this needs to be taken into consideration in bringing charges.
Update: I received the following statement from Brad Hayward in response to my request for the identify of the attorney for the family and for the University’s position:
The university has not been served with any lawsuit on this subject. We received an email from a member of the public, not identifying as an attorney, shortly after the bridge protest, expressing concern and threatening to file a lawsuit. We sought to establish contact with the individual but did not hear back and have had no further communication.
The post you already have published includes my colleague Lisa Lapin’s comment on behalf of Stanford regarding the protest. We have no additional information to provide at this time. Thank you for being in touch.
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