A long standing lawsuit in South Bend has officially been closed, as a court found that Henry Davis Jr was NOT guilty of defamation when he wrote a letter to the Department o justice asking them to look into the South Bend Police Department.
The issue stems goes all the way back to 2012 in the middle of the South Bend Police Department tape scandal when Davis wrote the letter on behalf of his constituents who were worried whether or not there were racially sensitive statements made on the tapes.
According to ABC 57 the judge ultimately ruled that Davis’ letter was protected by anti- SLAPP and qualified privilege. Which basically says that what he wrote was prompted by his constituents, and as a common councilman at the time it was his job to discuss such topics with proper authorities.
The judge also noted that all none of the four officers that filed the suit Tim Corbett, Steve Richmond, Dave Wells, and Brian Young provided no evidence that the letter was written with ill will or malice.
Henry Davis Jr also released this statement:
Today, the St. Joseph Superior Court entered a judgment in my favor denying the claims of law enforcement officers Brian Young, Dave Wells, Steve Richmond, and Tim Corbett that I defamed them when I wrote a letter to the United States Department of Justice asking the DOJ to investigate the patterns and practices of the South Bend Police Department.
I am pleased by the Court’s ruling. I received a fair day in court. I am also grateful for the hard work of my defense counsel, Bob Masters. And, I am humbled by the support of my wife, my family, and my friends and neighbors, especially my friends and neighbors in South Bend’s Second District, who have stood by me these many long years while this case made its way through the legal system.
I wrote my letter DOJ in the wake of South Bend’s police tapes controversy because I felt I owed it to my Second District constituents to give a voice to their concerns. A council member’s job is to speak up for his constituents even if – and especially when – speaking up may be the unpopular thing to do. The Court’s decision is not just a victory for me, but also one for free speech. Every American should have the right to engage in political discourse without fear of a defamation lawsuit.
When I decided to once again seek the Second District common council seat this election year, I promised the voters of the Second District I would always be their voice. If I am elected in November, I will always put my constituents’ concerns first and foremost. I will also work with our local law enforcement agencies to make South Bend a better, safer place for all residents.