Free Speech

Cincinnati Enquirer Writes About the Police Officer's Pseudonymous Libel Lawsuit,

mentioning the name of an officer against whom publicly available complaints -- the contents of which matches the contents of the allegedly libelous post -- were filed.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I wrote about this case, which also involves what strikes me as an unconstitutional order forbidding defendants from naming the officer in the future, here (when the case seemed to be entirely sealed), here (as to the prior restraint), and here (as to pseudonymity and the remaining sealed document). The Enquirer (Cameron Knight) has more.

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  1. The descriptions of that officer’s social media record suggest that the reason he objects to being labeled a racist is that bigots in America no longer wish to be known as racists — at least, not in public.

    Did this guy’s lawyer not explain discovery to Ryan Olthaus (or “Michael Ryan”) before the ‘don’t call me a racist’ complaint was filed?

    1. Do you have a link? The accuser’s account of the actual incident seemed like pretty weak stuff, and I didn’t see any discussion of the guy’s social media in the Enquirer story, although it did persuasively suggest that the plaintiff’s lawyer prefers censorious bullying to legal merit as a litigation strategy, and that Cincinnati police officers are disappointingly receptive to that sales pitch.

  2. The arrogance of cops isn’t helping them.

    Imagine if he had instead said: “The security officer is safe, he will receive medical attention if he needs it, and thank you for your concern, Maam.”

    It’s called being polite to A-holes. And it works.

  3. I’ve always thought she had a great voice, the most modest of acting ability, and the stupidest of personal politics. But as a lawyer who frequently has to explain to would-be clients who want me to sue on their behalves for defamation, I will forever be professionally grateful to Barbra Streisand for giving me an easily remembered, explained, and Google-able example of one of the main pitfalls to suing for defamation, the Streisand Effect. As a legal and sociological phenomenon, it long pre-existed Babs, but I credit her for preempting the field and making it indubitably her own. “You will put your entire life under a high-powered microscope that you cannot turn off,” I tell such prospective clients. But a surprising number still say, “I don’t care, I want to run that risk.” After which I’m obliged to explain why I’m nevertheless unwilling to undertake their representation on a contingent-fee basis (because even 33% of the likely settlement value of most defamation claims is still zero).

    1. But a surprising number still say, “I don’t care, I want to run that risk.”

      “It’s about the principle!”

  4. In a day and age where writing “all lives matters” makes you a so-called ‘racist’ in the eyes of many, leaves me and many wondering what ‘racism’ actually means these days…

    1. You and Prof. Volokh, it appears, are similarly bewildered . . .

    2. Reminds me of a line I read somewhere: How is it that white adults have no idea what a racist is, while a black child has no trouble picking one out of a line of people at Costco?

  5. The ‘OK’ symbol is still not a white power gang sign and it never has been. The whole idea of it was started as a joke by internet trolls on 4chan. Everyone who believes this has been fooled by jerks on the internet.

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