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Reblogged:Man Gets Damages for Ridiculous Arrest

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Chalk up another win for the good guys at the Institute for Justice: They just won an award for damages for a man arrested in Louisiana for a satirical post he put up on Facebook at the height of our government's lunatic response to the recent pandemic.

Here's how it started:
On March 20, 2020, four days after several California counties issued the nation's first "stay-at-home" orders in response to an emerging pandemic, [Waylon] Bailey let off some steam with a Facebook post that alluded to the Brad Pitt movie World War Z. "RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFFS OFFICE HAVE ISSUED THE ORDER," he wrote, that "IF DEPUTIES COME INTO CONTACT WITH 'THE INFECTED,'" they should "SHOOT ON SIGHT." He added: "Lord have mercy on us all. #Covid9teen #weneedyoubradpitt."
That night, Bailey was subjected to a SWAT-style raid culminating in his being ordered to stand on his knees and put his hands on his "fucking head." He was arrested for a felony and faced up to 15 years in prison, although the district attorney declined to prosecute for good and what should be obvious reasons.

Here's how it ended:
Image by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird, via Unsplash, license.
Last week's verdict against [Detective Randall] Iles and the sheriff's office validated all of those claims. "It is telling that it took less than two hours for a jury of Mr. Bailey's peers in Western Louisiana to rule in his favor on all issues," said Andrew Bizer, Bailey's trial attorney. "The jury clearly understood that the Facebook post was constitutionally protected speech. The jury's award of significant damages shows that they understood how Mr. Bailey's world was turned upside down when the police wrongly branded him a terrorist."

Institute for Justice attorney Ben Field noted that "our First Amendment rights aren't worth anything if courts won't hold the government responsible for violating them." Bailey's case, he said, "now stands as a warning for government officials and as a precedent that others can use to defend their rights."
Observing our government so egregiously and stupidly violate our rights throughout the pandemic was shocking and frustrating to say the least. It is truly good news that the Institute for Justice has moved the needle a bit back in the right direction on our most important right, free speech.

-- CAV

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