Constitutional Liberties Matter!
I didn’t think a police officer would silence criticism using a lawsuit – but that didn’t seem to stop one from filing a $1.35 Million lawsuit. If not for a Virginia civil rights law firm standing up and protecting the liberties guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, the suit would have silenced one citizen’s criticism, chilled the speech and rights of others and made all our lives more dangerous.
Nathan Cox, an Army veteran of the Iraq War and law enforcement accountability advocate, attempted to exercise his First Amendment right to video tape a simple traffic-stop. He was pulled over and then charged for not displaying a license plate on the front of his vehicle in addition to another non-moving vehicle violation.
What followed rises to the level of absurd. The Virginia State Trooper did not want to be in the news or subject to public scrutiny. After Nathan Cox posted video of the stop on the internet with comments, the trooper filed a lawsuit against him for defamation. But she didn’t even show up for court, so the case was dismissed. The harassment from the Trooper didn’t stop there. She appealed the dismissal and then dropped the action— only to file another suit in the Circuit Court, and instead of suing for $5,000 as she did the first time, she sued for $1.35 Million. This was an almost 27,000% increase in alleged damages.
Nathan Cox, without any ability to pay for a defense, asked the Virginia civil rights law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. to defend him and the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. This is the same law firm that recently won in the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals the case protecting police officers’ rights to criticize policies of police departments on Facebook which they believed endangered officers’ and citizens’ safety–Liverman v. City of Petersburg. This is the third time that the law firm has successfully defended Nathan Cox’s 1st Amendment rights.
In evidence obtained by Nathan through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Trooper’s own equipment recorded her admitting that she “didn’t want to be on YouTube or whatever.” This belied her claims in her lawsuit that she thought Nathan’s recording cell phone was a gun—it was obvious Nathan Cox was video-recording the interaction with his cell phone. The law firm defended Nathan on grounds the Trooper’s suit was procedurally deficient and the statements were not defamatory and were protected speech under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution.
After hours and hours of legal work, multiple motions, discovery and multiple court hearings the court rejected all the Trooper’s claims against Nathan Cox and dismissed the lawsuit. The case is McKenney v. Cox, in Hanover County Circuit Court, Virginia.
Nathan Cox now lives in Brevard County Florida with his newlywed wife. He is doing his best to pay for the legal fees from his job providing local pet care services.
Freedom Works Foundation has created this Go Fund Me page to give this newlywed a chance to start his new life with his beautiful wife without the staggering weight of the legal bill over his head and to give you a chance to stand with Nathan to defend liberty.
A simple act can help secure freedom, protect free speech guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution – and would be an amazing gift to these newlyweds.
Any funds received in excess of the legal bill will be used by Freedom Works Foundation, a Virginia non-profit organization, to defend liberties in similar cases, liberties for which our brave men and women have given so much to protect–liberties officers are sworn to protect! Your gift will be used to fight on the front lines the battle to defend liberty from enemies within who would destroy liberties like Free Speech guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
Thank you for being willing to touch a life, to stand with Nathan Cox and Freedom Works Foundation, to make a difference, to give freedom a chance, to make Freedom Work!Help spread the word!