Protecting Your Safety While Exercising Your Right to Free Speech

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2019 | Personal Injury |

Protecting Your Safety While Exercising Your Right to Free Speech

This year is looking to be another year of increased social activism in the Bay area, with the Women’s March and other, smaller events taking place last month. While the focus is often on protecting your rights to peacefully assemble and what to do when confronted by the police, it is also important to be aware of how to protect your personal safety against the actions of counter-protesters. Unfortunately, clashes can turn violent and result in serious personal injuries. The following outlines what you can do to be prepared.

Louis C.K. Protest Spurs Physical Assault

Allegations of sexual misconduct against comedian Louis C.K. are among the many to have sprung out of the #metoo movement in 2017. Event bookings were quickly canceled and invitations disappeared in the aftermath. However the comic, who has never been one to shy away from controversy, recently began booking club dates again, which included a stop in San Jose.

C.K. was scheduled to perform at the San Jose Improv, with sold-out shows on Wednesday, January 16th and Thursday, January 17th of 2019. On opening night, more than 30 protesters showed up outside as well, picketing against what they claimed was giving an acknowledged sexual harasser a platform in the community.

As customers began filing into the Improv for the 8:00 p.m. show, one man broke from the crowd. He went up to a protester standing on the opposite side of the street and holding the bull horn, punching him in the face before turning back around and entering the club. In the aftermath, a spokesperson for the San Jose Improv issued a statement saying that they respected the rights of the protesters, but also the rights of C.K. to perform.

Protecting Yourself and Your Rights

As rallies, marches, and other types of protests become more common and well publicized, there is a greater likelihood that counter protesters will show up as well. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advises that it is important to be aware of your individual rights in these situations. In addition to your right to peacefully assemble and protest in a public area, you also have the right to take photos or videos of anything that occurs in plain sight. If a counter-protester does appear to behave aggressively, take the following steps:

  • Notify the event organizers as well as any police or security guards nearby;
  • Use a camera or your cell phone to document what transpires;
  • If you are assaulted, get the names of any witnesses to the incident from both sides; and
  • Make sure that a police report is filed.

Contact Our San Jose Injuries Today for Help

At the Jachimowicz Law Group, we can advise you on holding at-fault parties accountable when these types of injuries occur. To discuss your situation and how we can help, call us at our office or contact our dedicated San Jose personal injury attorneys online and request a consultation today.


Louis C.K.’s San Jose performance riffs on his controversial past