Missouri AG Defends Senators Who Falsely Accused Bystander in Mass Shooting

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey defends three state senators sued for falsely accusing a bystander of being a mass shooter, citing legislative immunity. The senators had reposted a defamatory social media post without confirmation, leading to death threats against the innocent man.

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Missouri AG Defends Senators Who Falsely Accused Bystander in Mass Shooting

Missouri AG Defends Senators Who Falsely Accused Bystander in Mass Shooting

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is using state resources to defend three right-wing state senators who are being sued for falsely accusing a bystander of being the shooter in a February mass shooting at a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl celebration. Rick Brattin, Denny Hoskins, and Nick Schroer reposted a defamatory social media post without confirmation that wrongly identified Denton Loudermill, a Kansas man who had nothing to do with the shooting, as the perpetrator and an illegal immigrant.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the dangers of spreading misinformation and the abuse of power by elected officials, which can have serious consequences for innocent individuals. It also raises concerns about the politicization of the legal system and the potential for officials to use their positions to further their own ideological agendas.

The mass shooting on February 14 killed one person and injured over 20 others. Loudermill was briefly detained by police and a picture of him handcuffed was shared online with the false allegation. Despite learning they had spread misinformation that led to death threats against Loudermill, the senators refused to apologize. "There's nothing that I even see even worth that," Brattin stated. The three are members of the Senate's "Freedom Caucus," a group of hard-right political performance artists who have spent months holding up legislative business to pass extremist laws.

In his initial filing defending the senators, Bailey argues they are protected by absolute legislative immunity, a popular construct on the hard right. He specified that it's not just the senators' titles that give them the right to randomly slander a private citizen, but the fact that they did it in service to the culture war obsession with immigration. Bailey's involvement is notable for its tinge of racism, which is not surprising given his previous abuse of the legal system, including siding against prosecutors to defend a white cop convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a Black man.

Even fellow Republican Governor Mike Parson was appalled by Bailey's latest stunt. "We're just not going to attack citizens just because we think we have the power to do such," Parson stated. He emphasized that politicians have to be responsible and held to a higher standard when attacking citizens in the state. Parson also noted, "This gentleman did nothing wrong whatsoever other than he went to a parade and he drank beer and he was Hispanic," though Loudermill is actually Black.

The defamation lawsuit against the three state senators sheds light on the concerning actions of some right-wing politicians who spread misinformation and falsely accuse private citizens without consequence. Attorney General Bailey's decision to defend the senators using state resources, citing legislative immunity and tying it to the senators' anti-immigration stance, raises further questions about the politicization and potential abuse of the state's top legal office.

Key Takeaways

  • MO Attorney General Andrew Bailey defends 3 state senators who falsely accused a bystander of a mass shooting.
  • The senators, Rick Brattin, Denny Hoskins, and Nick Schroer, refused to apologize despite spreading misinformation.
  • Bailey argues the senators have absolute legislative immunity, citing their anti-immigration stance.
  • Even Governor Mike Parson criticized Bailey's defense, emphasizing politicians must be held to a higher standard.
  • The incident highlights the dangers of spreading misinformation and the politicization of the legal system.