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Oberlin College lashes out at Gibson’s Bakery, portrays itself as victim

Oberlin College lashes out at Gibson’s Bakery, portrays itself as victim

Allege “violent physical assault … on unarmed Oberlin students,” despite guilty pleas from students to shoplifting and criminal trespass, amid continuing Black Lives Matter boycott of bakery.

For over a year we have been covering an incident at Gibson’s Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio, close to Oberlin College. The incident involved charges of racial profiling against the Bakery after three black Oberlin students were arrested for shoplifting. When one of the employees, Allyn Gibson, attempted to stop them, a scuffle broke out.

The reaction from Oberlin student activists was to make claims of racial profiling, as we documented in our first post on the incident in November 2016, Bakery targeted by Oberlin College #BlackLivesMatter fights back:

On November 9, 2016, Gibson’s employees noticed what they thought was a person shoplifting two bottles of wine hidden in his jacket. That alleged shoplifter was a black Oberlin College student. When they attempted to stop and photograph him, they were attacked by several other people accompanying the student.

The police were called. The Oberlin town police department has posted the Incident Reportonline, reflecting the arrest of the alleged shoplifter and two others involved in the scuffle. …

What could have been a simple shoplifting incident and arrest created a firestorm when Oberlin College students, including the Black Student Union, Student Senate and College Democrats, alleged racial profiling and launched a boycott of Gibson’s. Protests were launched outside the bakery….

Oberlin College Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo provided this statement to Legal Insurrection in response to the news report that she was passing out literature accusing Gibson’s of racism:

Information and literature available at the protest was prepared by organizers, not the college. I passed along a flyer that was circulating among the crowd to a news tribune reporter who was seeking information from students about what was taking place. I did not prepare the flyer and do not have a copy of the flyer. My presence was to help ensure that a safe environment was maintained.

… The Oberlin Student Senate passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Gibson’s ….

Oberlin halted purchases from Gibson’s, but eventually resumed business.

The three students eventually pled guilty to shoplifting and criminal trespass, and admitted as part of their plea deal that Gibson’s was not racist.

The three Oberlin College students accused of trying to steal wine from Gibson’s Bakery in Oberlin and then allegedly beating the store’s employee when he tried to detain them pleaded guilty Friday to amended misdemeanor charges.

The deal calls for them to receive no jail time and to pay restitution.

Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi delivered the sentencing Friday afternoon after several tense hours of negotiations between the parties.

Jonathan Aladin, 20, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of attempted theft, aggravated trespassing and underage purchase of alcohol.

Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone, both 19, pleaded guilty to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing.

Oberlin police reported that Aladin tried to buy a bottle of wine Nov. 9 but Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the bakery, refused to sell it to him. Gibson confronted Aladin about the two bottles of wine the student allegedly had hidden under his shirt.

The police report said Gibson told Aladin he was calling the police and not to leave. Aladin allegedly tried to leave, and Gibson told police he took out his phone to take a picture. That’s when Gibson said Aladin slapped the phone from his hand and the device hit Gibson in the face. Police have said Aladin then ran from the store, dropping the two bottles of wine to the floor.

Gibson chased after Aladin and the two men got into a physical confrontation outside.

When police arrived, they reported seeing Gibson on the ground with Aladin, Lawrence and Whettstone hitting him.

But that did not end the controversy, as student boycotts and activism against Gibson’s never went away. The community rallied around Gibson’s, sparking a clear town/gown divide and tension.

This all took place against the backdrop of years of student activism that has made Oberlin something of a subject of mockery that may have contributed to an unexpected decline in Oberlin enrollment, as we documented in Radical fallout: Oberlin College enrollment drops, causing financial problems.

Since that post, we have continued to cover the protests and fallout, which culminated in a lawsuit by Gibson’s against Oberlin and Raim0ndo, Gibson’s Bakery sues Oberlin College over racial profiling accusations, Oberlin cuts business ties. That post has extensive background images and video, as well as a copy of the Complaint (pdf.),

In the Complaint, among other things, Gibson’s alleges that Oberlin has encouraged the continuing protests and boycotts of Gibson’s, has defamed Gibson’s, and has interfered in Gibson’s business, including with regard to a parking area.

The lawsuit has gained a lot of media coverage in the past few days after AP wrote about it, and the story was picked up in multiple outlets, like the Chicago Tribune and some conservative websites. Legal Insurrection readers, of course, already were aware.

Oberlin and Raim0ndo have filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss (pdf.) and Answer and Affirmative Defenses (pdf.), each of which are embedded in full at the bottom of this post.

The Oberlin and Raimondo court filings surprised me. First, the defendants only moved to dismiss two of the ancillary claims, negligent hiring, retention, or supervision (Count 7) and trespass (Count 8). Left untouched in the Motion to Dismiss were the defamation and other claims that form the heart of the litigation. Of course, dismissal of those claims before trial can be sought later, but that means that Gibson’s will get wide-ranging discovery of the defendants.

Perhaps equally surprising was that Oberlin and Raimondo include an allegation in their court filings that didn’t need to be in the papers, but must be a signal as to the defense strategy. That allegation is that Oberlin and Raimondo merely were looking out for the safety of students after the students were assaulted by Allyn Gibson. Here’s the passage on page 1-2 of the Answer (emphasis added, underscoring in original):

By filing this lawsuit, Plaintiffs regrettably are attempting to profit from a divisive and polarizing event that impacted Oberlin College (“the College”), its students, and the Oberlin community. Indeed, the Complaint is fraught with allegations all designed to
portray Plaintiffs as victims who were wrongfully targeted by Defendants when in fact community members protested the violent physical assault by Allyn D. Gibson on unarmed Oberlin students. Defendants never acted wrongfully or unlawfully, and never targeted or caused any harm to Plaintiffs. Defendants’ sole concern has at all times been for the safety and well-being of students and the community. All of the claims in Plaintiffs’ Complaint lack legal and factual merit. As a result, Defendants will vigorously defend this ill-advised and unfortunate lawsuit.

The attorney for Gibson’s has not responded to an email seeking comment on the highlighted language in the Answer.

A similar line of attack is taken by Oberlin and Raimondo on page 2 of the Memorandum of Law supporting the Partial Motion to Dismiss (emphasis added):

By commencing this legal action, however, Plaintiffs seek to personally profit from a polarizing event that negatively impacted Oberlin College, its students, and the Oberlin community. Thus, not surprisingly, the Complaint contains a smorgasbord of
allegations all designed to falsely portray Plaintiffs as innocent victims. The actual facts do not bear this out. In reality, it was an employee of Gibson’s Bakery and a relative of the individual plaintiffs, Allyn D. Gibson, who left the safety of his business to violently physically assault an unarmed student.

Thus, Oberlin and Raimondo seek to portray the College as the victim in this scenario, including the confessed shoplifters. I can’t imagine, based on what is publicly available, this will work.

Moreover, the boycotts and protests against Gibson organized by students, and allegedly encouraged and coordinate with Oberlin administrators, were not primarily about a supposed assault on a student. Certainly, that was part of the mix, but the primary attack on Gibson’s was and still is that it allegedly engaged in racial profiling and unfairly targeted three black students with false claims of shoplifting. The guilty pleas put the lie to that line of protest, yet it it the defense laid out for Oberlin and Raimondo in their court filings. The Answer being a pleading of Oberlin and Raimondo, constitutes admissions that can be used against them. Unless discovery turns up something beyond what’s publicly known, Gibson’s lawyers should have a field day cross-examining Oberlin witnesses about the language quoted above.

We will continue to monitor and report on this case.


Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Partial Motion to Dismiss by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Answer and Affirmative Defenses by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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How could “Beating” the store clerk be a misdemeanor? Maybe if it arose over a debate or argument but to be caught stealing and then you attack the clerk seems to me to be much worse. I would think 90 days in jail might make more of a statement than paying restitution and apologizing.

Thieves hiding behind a layer of diversity (e.g. racism).

Worse, an attempted abortion (or public lynching) rationalized by a preponderance of allegations.

    Arminius in reply to n.n. | December 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    It isn’t the first time.

    “Relatives of a teenaged home invader who was killed by a homeowner while seemingly exiting the home he had broken into are asking observers to consider the mentality of of children “raised in the hood.”

    17-year-old Trevon Johnson was shot and killed after the 54-year-old woman homeowner was alerted to his crime via a home surveillance system. After arriving at her home, she witnessed Johnson exiting a window of her house. There was then a confrontation in which Johnson was shot once. Police arrived on the scene within seconds and applied CPR. After being rushed to the hospital, Johnson was pronounced dead.

    Seemingly justifying her relative’s commission of burglary, Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris suggested it was the only way through which he could obtain money.

    “You have to understand, you have to look at it from a child’s point of view that was raised in the hood. How he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school?” asked Harris…”

    Somebody is probably going to say the source, Dailywire, is unreliable. Not in this case. I know I didn’t originally hear about this story from Dailywire. But I vividly remember the audio of the relative saying, “How he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school?”

    And thinking, “Mom & Dad?” But of course, that’s not part of the mentality in the hood.

These college administrators are just like the brass at the NFL: keep doubling down until you go bust. I guess the mindset is that it is better to do whatever it takes to keep their job today, than to worry about tomorrow.

I hope Gibsons sues Oberlin out of existence.

“No, a ‘baker’s dozen’ does not include two free bottles of wine with your pastries.”

Claremont McKenna similarly had to deal with unruly students. It gathered the tapes, identified all perps, instigated punishment,informed named contacts (usually the parents) and referred the perps from Pomona and Pitzer to their respective deans. Amazingly, Claremont has an extremely quiet campus this year. What a coincidence.

    Notify the parents? Can you find the parents? Does the kid or his mother even KNOW who the father is? Even if you are able to notify them, you’re likely to hear some variation of “I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some (whatever).” Stealing from local businesses is an issue that needs to be handled by the local police; these prog indoctrination akademies will never punish their woke snowflakes.

Gibson’s shouldn’t look a gift boycott in the mouth. I’m sure many local retailers would consider a boycott by BLM types to be the best thing to happen to their bottom lines in years.

    alaskabob in reply to tom_swift. | December 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Unless patrons are assertively asked for donations to the United Negro College Fund prior to entering or immediately after leaving the Bakery. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”, as in “that is a very fine brain you have… be a shame if anything would happen to it…”

      Firewatch in reply to alaskabob. | December 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I would caution people about buying candy from Gibson’s. I recently purchased a couple of boxes of their chocolates and not only will they disappear quickly, but you will want more. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

I don’t care if you flunked out of your 1st semester at Oberlin. I will never hire anybody from that institution and try to prove that I profiled 🙂
Hiring an Oberlin student would be gross negligence to myself as well as my employees. You are high risk and a pariah to others’ well being 😉

On the uptick, at least Gibson’s doesn’t have to deal with lying, thieving, BLM degenerates degrading their store and pilfering as though it were righteousness.

On the downtick, many students are missing out on tasty delights produced by Gibson’s. Let them eat Twinkies, it matches their chosen lifestyle.

ufo destroyers | December 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

These are adults (the students), allegedly over the age of 18, not on the campus of the school, and administrators have the temerity to go to the Gibson’s place of business and make sure their “youts” don’t get into trouble. Please. This is nanny-statism at its finest (or worst depending on your point of view). By leaving their campus and declaring that they are doing the bidding of the school, then the school could be in heap big trouble.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | December 13, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Clearly Oberlin College and its Mis-adminstartion has a death wish. Here’s hoping their “community” indulges them!

I am a reasonable, easy to get along with person. But my patience is wearing thin.