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The day after the 2016 Presidential election, an African American Oberlin College student shoplifted from a bakery close to the campus.
The Chronicle-Telegram originally reported the story:
Oberlin police reported that Aladin tried to buy a bottle of wine Nov. 9 but Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the bakery, refused to sell it to him. Gibson confronted Aladin about the two bottles of wine the student allegedly had hidden under his shirt. The police report said Gibson told Aladin he was calling the police and not to leave. Aladin allegedly tried to leave, and Gibson told police he took out his phone to take a picture. That’s when Gibson said Aladin slapped the phone from his hand and the device hit Gibson in the face. Police have said Aladin then ran from the store, dropping the two bottles of wine to the floor.
Over the past almost three years, Oberlin College allowed for its students to whip themselves into a froth rather than the college calling out the individual who was an actual thief. The college did nothing to rein in those students who deemed the bakery owners as racist. As students arranged for demonstrations outside the bakery, professors and administrators joined in the protests. Flyers were made that became a common item in the community, and which announced with huge headlines that the bakery owners were racists. Eventually, the college refused to purchase any of the bakery’s goods for their cafeteria service.
Since when is calling the police when a crime is committed a racist activity? And if a college encourages its student body to become a massive, business-destroying organization, should the college itself be on the hook for damages?
Legal Insurrection reported on the story,
According to our reporter in the Courtroom, the jury awarded $11 million. Here are the details: Allyn W. Gibson was awarded $3 million, David Gibson $5.8 million, Gibson Bros. $2,274,500. Next Tuesday there will be separate punitive damage which could be a double award (meaning tripling the $11 million to $33 million). In the word’s of the article’s author, Oberlin College claimed the Bakery was worth only $35k, less than one semester at Oberlin College:
I’m still shaking my head at the tone-deafness of the defense in belittling this family business which has sustained five generations of Gibsons, and at the time of the protests sustained three generations: 90-year-old Allyn W. Gibson, his son David Gibson, and his grandson Allyn D. Gibson.
There were also almost a dozen employees. After the protests, the Gibsons stopped taking salaries and most of the employees have been laid off. This is real life to these people. To say that the business was worth only $35,000 erases the lives of these people. Maybe it’s just the plaintiff’s lawyer in me coming out, but I’d cross-examine this defense expert and college president, and show in closing argument, the tuition, room and board charges at Oberlin College. This business, which has been an important feature of the community since 1885, is deemed worth less than one semester at Oberlin College?