Before Matthew Dolloff was officially named as the Denver protest shooter, we had already identified a tattoo on Dolloff’s right wrist as a Space Invaders tattoo. Space Invaders was an old video game popular in the early 1980s, but its name and symbols have since been adopted by members of the Antifa movement. In the above image you can see that Rosa Antifa Wien created the Space Invaders Against Racism graphic which is just one of many Space Invaders themed graphics such as the Space Invaders Against Fascism button. We believe that the Denver Police are intentionally misleading the public as to Dolloff’s affiliation to make their jobs easier.
What are the odds that a shooter of a “patriot” at a “patriot rally” attended by Antifa counter-protesters, who has an Antifa themed tattoo, is not affiliated with the Antifa movement? Slim to none, but despite that it seems most people are saying that he is not Antifa because of a tweet put out by the Denver Police Department yesterday. That tweet reads:
“Update: Further investigation has determined the suspect is a private security guard with no affiliation with Antifa. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.” – Denver Police Department (https://mobile.twitter.com/DenverPolice/status/1315100293940441088)
We do not dispute the DPD’s claim that Dolloff was a private security guard employed by 9 News to protect their journalists during the rally. That does not mean that Dolloff is not associated with Antifa. In fact, the DPD released that statement saying that he lacks any affiliation with Antifa far too early for them to know for sure who Dolloff is associated with. It just means that initially they had one reason to believe that he might not be Antifa. That reason combined with their desire to prevent right wingers from retaliating against Antifa in the heat of the moment is enough for any police department to justify releasing premature statements such as that one. Now, you’re probably thinking that the police cannot legally lie to the general public, but that is not true.
Does Qualified Immunity Cover False Statements?
We argue that qualified immunity should not cover false statement, but we are constrained by the fact that the founder of CopBlaster.com is currently involved in a lawsuit against law enforcement and his claims include defamation. He argues that law enforcement officials defamed him by making false statements in reports and committed perjury by later backing up those reports with sworn affidavits. The defense in that case argues that all statements made by law enforcement in the course of their duties are privileged. They argue that the courts have ruled the ability for them to do their jobs would be too severely compromised if they had to worry about being sued for defamation whenever they make a false statement.
The context here is somewhat different from the Cop Blaster’s lawsuit. In this case we are not talking about a false defamatory statement about someone. We are simply talking about a public denial. If the investigation of Dolloff reveals that he is in fact an Antifa and a professional security guard, then the DPD can always explain yesterday’s tweet as being based on the facts as they knew them at the time. Even if it could be shown that the DPD knew he was Antifa and lied to the public, the DPD would not suffer any consequences. They could simply argue that due to the seriousness of the situation they thought it would be safer to issue a false statement less likely to inflame the public further. Courts have long supported the idea that police can use deception. Deception like having an undercover officer claim to be a prostitute is perfectly legal. The courts would likely uphold making false statements to diffuse dangerous situations as being within the discretion of public safety professionals.
Published at Sun, 11 Oct 2020 16:37:48 +0000