While we were researching the arrest of Alan Swinney, we discovered that a local attorney has been posting his clients' snitch paperwork on his Twitter account. Snitch paperwork like police reports and civil complaints containing the full names of their clients along with proof that they gave incriminating information about other people to law enforcement agencies. The lawyer is named Michael Fuller, he runs a website called Underdog Lawyer and Tweets as UnderdogLawBlog. This is surprising for a couple of reasons. First, most lawyers always recommend against talking to the media before a case is decided; Second, most of these clients were protesting the police only to turn state's witnesses the second they felt victimized. That is hypocrisy, just like the hypocrisy of "law and order" supporters committing multiple crimes, and it risks setting precedents that would ruin more black lives in the long run.
Fuller has been responsible for a series of recent lawsuits against members of groups labeled as far-right. The lawsuits allege a range of behaviors such as throwing a cup of chewing tobacco at Shaylan Lanter and shooting Meg McLain with a paintball gun. According to the above pictured paperwork, Lanter told the Gresham Police Department that Rex Coniff threw a cup of chewing tobacco on her. Media reports about the McLain lawsuit indicate that "McLain attested that she quickly notified police of the incident but they did not arrest Swinney." (https://www.koin.com/news/protests/right-wing-protester-alan-swinney-arrested-on-12-charges-proud-boys/). Fuller Tweeted a picture of Lanter's paperwork at https://twitter.com/UnderdogLawBlog/status/1311060521970352128/photo/3 and he posted several Tweets about the McLain lawsuit. It is obvious that Fuller has had a hand in the public promotion of these cases without which the public might not know that his clients are snitches.
This could be very bad for his clients if they are ever prosecuted for their roles in recent protests, especially if they are prosecuted federally because if they go to prison then they will be going to a place where the only thing worse than a snitch is a child molester and not by much. To Fuller's credit he was probably only thinking about what would be best for his clients' lawsuits in a court of law. That is typical of most lawyers. They make decisions in a bubble that does not consider penology. Criminal lawyers make the same mistakes, so I would not go as far as to say that his actions fell below the bar of what is considered reasonably competent legal representation under Strickland vs. Washington because he is doing what is normal for people in his industry and the only prejudice that can legally be held against him in court is prejudice in court. That is why many people that let their lawyers run their cases get screwed. They do things like make deals with the government, testify against people, and abstain from tactics that although not legal further their interests better than obeying the law. The end results tend to be people that might get less time, become rats in the process, and fail to otherwise conduct themselves in accordance with the convict code. Such people do not last long in general population. They leave general population one or two ways: 1) They request protective custody from the government; 2) They are attacked by the inmates for not removing themselves from general population. In either case the inmate ends up on 23 hour lockdown for their own safety for many months pending transfer to another prison where they will most likely have the same problems. Such disciplinary actions are necessary to enforce the no snitching rule because it makes it better to keep your mouth shut even if it means doing more time. Doing more time in general population where you spend your days getting high, drinking, playing sports, and watching TV in a college dorm like setting is much better than doing less time if that time is done on 23 hour lockdown.
The best advice we can give people like Meg McLain and Shaylan Lanter at this time is to stop protesting or otherwise doing anything that might give the cops an excuse to arrest them. We would not say that had they not turned state's witnesses against the Proud Boys. Had they not done that they would be able to do any time they might face just like any other inmates, but now due in part to Mr. Fuller any jail time is life threatening for them. We would not be terribly concerned about them ending up in jail if it were not for local cops being federally deputized and the aggressive behavior of federal authorities in response to protests around federal property. District Attorney Mike Schmidt's protester amnesty policy make the likelihood of them being held on local charges slim to none. Unfortunately, that policy does nothing to deter the federal government from pursuing them should they be picked up by any federal or federally deputized officer. Depending on the circumstances they might not get pre-trial release. The federal system has no bail, so if they are not released on recognizance they will end up stuck in jail for probably more than a year until their case is decided. They will have to spend all of that time with targets on their backs because they failed to honor the convict code. As a result they might not live long enough for the court to decide their cases.
At this point you are probably shaking your head and thinking that they do not deserve any of this. You have a point. They did not deserve to get chew thrown on them or shot with paintballs. You're probably thinking that they are just unsuspecting victims doing what they think is right. We ran their names through a background check service. Lanter has no criminal history and several results came back for people named Meg McLain in Oregon, so we are not sure about her but we think the closest match has at worst old citations for underage drinking. From that we do not believe that either of these women are real criminals at this time, but that could change in an instant should they be arrested. Even hardcore convicts are reluctant to label as snitches law abiding people that are victimized and just don't know any better. To quote a friend of the Cop Blaster founder, "I never once considered any of those bank tellers that testified against me a snitch." That man was in USP Victorville for bank robbery at the time and is now serving 30 years in New Jersey for murder because in addition to being a career bank robber he was also a hitman contracted with a Columbian drug cartel (https://copblaster.com/blast/3266/a-man-will-die-in-prison-because-of-cristovaho-diaz). The founder of Cop Blaster has done hard time with real criminals and knows first hand how prison politics really work. The second anyone becomes an inmate the no snitching rule applies and we can think of no reason why anyone with Lanter's or McLain's paperwork would get a pass. That is why they need to keep themselves out of jail and that probably means they should not attend protests anymore.
It appears that the context of Lanter's case is different than that of McLain's case. Lanter seems like some lady that was minding her own business only to get a cup of chew thrown on her by some guy that just didn't like what she herself wrote on her own car. We do not endorse the actions of Rex Cuniff, but we don't believe that he deserves to be in jail or ordered to pay Lanter that full $250,000 she is seeking just for throwing tobacco on her either. The amount being sought renders what may have been a meritorious claim frivolous in our opinion. It also appears that Lanter engaged in an unlawful high speed chase with Cuniff that may have included a hit and run according to Cuniff's claims. From this we believe that she engaged in the high speed pursuit for the purpose of getting Cuniff into trouble with the police. Essentially acting as a cop herself until they arrived. That behavior is why she is not similarly situated to the aforementioned bank teller in our opinion. High speed chases are dangerous and usually illegal. She seems more like somebody acting not as someone that does not know any better and more like a vindictive tattle tale. A bank teller has no choice but to testify against a bank robber or face being fired and labeled an accessory after the fact. Lanter escalated a harmless encounter to one that could have seriously injured someone had either vehicle hit anything or anyone. Her response was not proportional to Cuniff's crimes, which appear to be misdemeanor harassment and criminal mischief III. In fact, one might argue depending on how fast she was going that her conduct would constitute reckless endangerment under the law, which is a more serious offense because even though it is a misdemeanor it requires conduct that could injure other people. The law does not require a named victim to sustain a reckless endangerment charge, so if she exceeded the speed limit enough to create a significant risk of serious harm had she stuck someone or another vehicle that is all it takes, the state need not prove that there were any actual people at risk, they just need to show that had someone been in the road they would have been hurt if struck. She seems more like somebody that was looking for an excuse to get someone she did not like into trouble with the law or maybe she was just so pissed off by the tobacco that she totally lost control of her emotions. Either way she went out of her way to get someone else into trouble with the cops for what appears to be financial and political reasons. Lawsuits filed by Fuller have admittedly been filed in part to deter people like Cuniff from coming to Portland, which we believe is one reason for the frivolous figure, and the other objective appears to be an effort to profit off technicalities even though Lanter does not appear to have suffered financially as a result of this at all beyond having to do a load of laundry and get her car detailed. Is Cuniff a snitch for telling the police that Lanter chased him and may have hit something with her car? We believe that Cuniff is a snitch also for running his mouth the way that he did after committing a crime against her himself. Cuniff and Lanter are just two more examples of whiny snitches from both sides (https://copblaster.com/blast/25927/snitches-from-both-sides-respond-to-fbi-snitching-form).
The context of McLain's case appears to be one of knowingly entering a conflict situation. We say this because she was obviously there to counter-protest the Proud Boys group led by Alan Swinney. The context of a counter protest is one of hostility where violence is to be expected. There are of course people that go to such things as counter protesters with no intent to do anything violent or otherwise unlawful. We do not know if McLain did anything beyond just stand on the other side of the street and speak her mind, which she has every right to do. Swinney had no right to shoot her with a paintball just for doing that, but he does not deserve to go to prison or lose $250,000 for it either. Swinney is currently charged with 12 counts and according to McLain five of those counts name her as the victim, but she told us that she does not recall exactly which counts specifically name her (https://copblaster.com/blast/25988/proud-boys-activist-alan-swinney-arrested-we-break-down-the-charges). We do not have access to court documents in the Oregon state court system at this time and no news organization has posted the indictment or the probable cause statement. All we have to go on the first page of McLain's lawsuit, news coverage about her lawsuit, and a press release from the District Attorney's officer describing Swinney's indictment. It appears that Swinney is falsely accused of Assault II for shooting McLain in the right breast with a paintball and causing her a nasty bruise. The appropriate charge for that is Assault IV because a nasty bruise is not the type of serious injury required to sustain an Assault II charge and a paintball is not a dangerous weapon. Like Lanter, McLain's motives appear to be more political and financial than anything else. To her credit, the bruise is quite nasty looking, but that is mostly due to the nature of bruising and breast tissue. Fatty tissue bruises far worse than lean tissue and it is harder to find a better example of fatty tissue that bruises easily than a female breast. Swinney did not ruin her life or anyone else's, but she is using the same police that she has been protesting against in an effort to ruin his life. That is the type of unnecessary vindictiveness that elevates McLain beyond being similarly situated to the bank teller example. As Fuller pointed out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/UnderdogLawBlog/status/1311442948169502720) Swinney wouldn't have even been served with the lawsuit had he not been arrested by the Portland Police and held in Multnomah County where he could be personally served. We believe getting him severed to be among the motives for pursuing him in criminal court. Putting a man in jail for revenge in exactly the kind of snitching that gets people stabbed in prison.
Were These Women Bait, Provocateurs, or Otherwise to Blame for Their Injuries?
We do not know the answer to that question. We do not think that Lanter was bait mainly because it appears that Cuniff drove up next to her and initiated the conflict. McLain we are not so sure about. Local law enforcement has a horrible history of working with provocateurs that purposefully engage people for the purpose of provoking unlawful responses. The founder of Cop Blaster found that out after being stalked, threatened, and his family was swatted by someone working with local law enforcement as a civilian volunteer. The entire goal of the setup was to coerce him into doing what the volunteer wanted or provoke him into an unlawful response that would give them legal recourse that did not otherwise exist. In that case he responded with a death threat conditioned on the discontinuation of the volunteer's activities. He was subsequently prosecuted and sent to prison for making an threatening communication in interstate commerce. After the conduct of the "victim" was made known, the government just white washed everything she did and presented it to the court as proof of emotional distress inflicted by the defendant. That was used against him at sentencing and the court did not care that none of the alleged emotional distress was caused by any unlawful actions. To the contrary, the court ruled that it established a relationship between the defendant's employment and the crime of conviction sufficient to ban him from running his websites for many years as a supervised release condition. The government with the court's blessing has made it clear that people have a green light to attack certain types of people in Oregon without fear of prosecution as long as they can provoke a violent response.
Back to the case at hand, Ms. McLain appears to have been part of a group of people that may have provoked Swinney into firing indiscriminately into the crowed with a paintball gun. We say "may have" because we do not know which group physically attacked the other first. We do know that many counter protesters threw fireworks, rocks, and other objects at the Proud Boys that day, but we do not know if they did that in response to violent acts by the Proud Boys or not. Either way it probably would not help Swinney in court at this point even if McLain herself were proven to have thrown anything at him. The MCDA's systematic "victim" white washing policy requires that nobody be charged with a crime after being named as the victim (https://copblaster.com/blast/3362/jeremy-christian-trial-expect-systematic-victim-white-washing) and that any crimes they commit be labeled as justified or at least minimized to make their conduct look reasonable under the circumstances (https://copblaster.com/blast/83/edie-frolichman-says-threats-and-fake-911-calls-are-reasonable). We do know that people in far-left circles in the Portland area, like the rat that setup Cop Blaster's founder years ago, are known to place people (especially women) in positions to act as potential victims. Did McLain go to the rally with a contingency plan to sue and prosecute anyone that so much as harmed a hair on her head? We would not be surprised of that were the case. It is common for groups like Antifa to have different roles for different people. Roles such as using men as front line combatants, women as medics, and innocent looking people as future plaintiffs so that they can respond to actions that adversely impact the group as a whole with legal action. Snitching is in the Antifa playbook, members of Antifa refuse to denounce it, and they certainly are not willing to hold themselves to a higher standard by being able to say that at least they will never work for or with the police. Again, we do not know if that is the case here, but we certainly cannot rule it out.
Why Bother Defending Proud Boys Unless You're a White Supremacist?
We get this question whenever we criticize actions taken against anyone considered by the left to be racist. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. Extreme cases tend to be the ones used by the government and the courts to create foundations necessary to justify taking away peoples' rights. In such cases the instincts of most people make them not want to care what happens to the accused even if the law must be violated to achieve the outcome they want. Once it is established that the law can be enforced in a certain way in some cases then the government does all they can to find similarities between those cases and more mainstream cases. Eventually those similarities lead to a lot of other people being treated the same even though their cases are nowhere near as extreme. That is done by using extreme cases to create legal precedents and then applying those precedents broadly. That is why it becomes necessary to watch extreme cases closely to make sure that they are not being used to create precedents that will hurt more people in the long run. When people start disregarding the law because they care more about punishing racism than treating defendants equally they go down a road that is very dangerous for a lot of other people. Roads like lowering to bar for what constitutes a serious injury to nasty bruises and what constitutes a dangerous weapon to a paintball, just to lock up Alan Swinney for a long time, will give prosecutors a weapon to use against anyone that bruises or paintballs anyone else, a weapon capable of getting them a mandatory minimum sentence of almost six years under Measure 11.
The police target people of color and the poor disproportionally. Those are the people that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are trying to help the most by protesting systemic racism in the criminal justice system. Lowering the bar on Assault II would hurt far more people of color than it would white supremacists in the long run. People who really care about black lives should not want anyone to face a Measure 11 case just for bruising people or using a paintball gun. Sometimes what is bad for white supremacists is worse for black lives.
Michael Fuller is not helping his clients by posting their snitch paperwork on the internet even if doing that gets them a larger settlement because they are at too great a risk of serious body harm should the feds persecute them for protesting. Nobody deserves to lose the kind of money they are seeking just for doing what the defendants in these lawsuits did. Nobody deserves to be in prison for anything these defendants are accused of and applying the law in the manner necessary to give Alan Swinney a long sentence would ruin a lot of black lives in the long run.