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October 27, 2014


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confused by your post

Are we to assume Professor Hansford chose to skip out on teaching his Monday class (meets every Monday 10:00-11:50AM) as scheduled in order to irritate shoppers/employees at a Walmart? Can anyone confirm he actually attended his class that day?

I wish law professors put teaching their students ahead of their own pursuits more often.


Professor Harrison, what are the "racially motivated killings by area police?" Do you have some information that you can share with local and federal prosecutors? Or are you projecting your political views onto one or more situations that you've read about on the Internet? For the sake of your students, I sure hope you don't teach criminal law.


My apologies, it's Professor Redding.

Orin Kerr

From the essay:

We asked why we were arrested, and they said that it was for trespassing. Apparently, in some type of Kafkaesque legal mind-bender, the police had persuaded the manager to close the 24-hour Walmart. We were standing there while it was closed, so we immediately became trespassers, without having moved an inch or having entered the building with the knowledge it was closed. It actually would be a great law school exam question for my torts students this semester. (I'm hoping that they don't read this.)

Under Missouri's criminal trespass statute, 569.140 & 569.010, they don't need to close the Walmart to make staying a trespass. They just need to tell you to leave. If you decide to stay, defying the order to leave, that's a violation.


"confused by your post," I am confused by your lack of reading comprehension skills. Nowhere in the essay does it say the protest and arrest occurred on a Monday. In fact, the essay clearly states that it was a "historic, inspiring, and exhausting WEEKEND of protests." What Prof. Hansford does on the weekend is clearly his own business.


4thYearProf, a two minute internet search found that the Walmart protest where there were multiple arrests was indeed on a Monday, something "confused by your post" may have also found but which you, obviously, did not bother to check. Here is a link to a reuters article.

Maybe the facts are not important in teaching or research but they are very important in the practice of law. I find it incredible that you were not willing to spend a minimal amount of time getting the facts before making assertions.


4thYearProf, the protest was on Monday as a two minute internet search reveals. See Reuters: and the website for Ferguson October which reports:
October 13, 2014– St. Louis, MO – Dozens of protestors from Organization for Black Struggle have shown up to shutdown Walmart making a link between John Crawford, killed by police in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart on August 6 and Mike Brown killed by police officer Darren Wilson over two months ago in Ferguson, MO.

The protest is a part of Ferguson October’s Moral Monday, a day of non-violent direct action that has seen clergy members arrested at Ferguson Police Department, workers arrested while blocking Emerson Electric, disruption of holiday shopping at Plaza Frontenac, and disruption and arrest at City Hall.

Orin Kerr

4thYearProf, from what I can tell, based on the press reports about the protest, it occurred on the night of Monday 10/13. I'm not sure why anon thinks that the prof skipped his Monday morning class, though, as the protest seems to have happened at night.

confused by your post

4thYearFrof, from your handle, I am confused by a "prof's" inability to do 30 seconds of web searching to confirm that Prof. Hansford's "observation" and subsequent arrest at the Maplewood, MO Walmart took place on Monday October 13.

Web address for protest clip showing Prof. Hansford:

To the extent that Prof. Hansford's protest activities or "unplanned" arrest caused him not to hold his scheduled Monday class or Tuesday afternoon class, I feel bad for his students. Can anyone confirm he taught both classes as scheduled?


What did Wal-Mart do to anyone? There is no reason they should have been forced to shut down. Same goes for any other business that has been occupied by trespassers as part of a protest. Find a real public space to get your message out and let businesses operate so that people can go to work.

confused by your post

4thYearProf, from your handle I am confused by your lack of ability to perform a 30 second web search to confirm that Prof. Hansford's "observation" and arrest at the Maplewood, MO Walmart occurred on Monday October 13.

Found tube showing Prof. Hansford.

In the minds of many, protesting police misconduct is a good thing. My concern is whether Prof. Hansford's personal interests (protests and being arrested much to his "surprise") caused him to not hold his Monday class or Tuesday Torts class as scheduled. I have researched the matter on-line and thus far have not found an answer.

My concern is a fair one and pertinent to the post. If Prof. Hansford held his classes as scheduled, then there is no issue here.

Jeff Redding

Comments may not show up immediately since some are being sent to spam and I'm in Pakistan, 9 hours ahead of EST (hence, operating in a fairly different time zone than most commentators).

I will delete comments that try to turn this post and discussion of it into some sort of scamlaw convention. On that note, it is perfectly reasonable to not show up to teach a class when one is facing a personal emergency, including arrest by an out-of-control police force. Classes can be rescheduled--and routinely are for all sorts of reasons (planned and unplanned). That's the last comment on that line of argument that I'm allowing here. Sorry, scammers.

confused by your post

Professor Redding, I respect your right to not allow comments which you do not like. You are the ultimate judge with respect to comments on your post. I apologize for double posting and will refrain from doing so again. Protesting police abuse has merit as does the concept that African Americans' civil rights are routinely violated without recourse by law enforcement officers in this country.

Asking whether a law professor failed to teach a scheduled class in the situation at hand is not an base attack unworthy of further attention. It is useful to debate/discuss here the tensions and equities involved in balancing a professor's teaching obligations and outside interests. There is much to be gained from such a debate, even if it allows some fair criticism and differing opinions.

As you are the judge deciding what may be posted, perhaps you may let Professor Hansford's recent scholarly work advocating for the "appearance of fairness" inform your decision to allow further discussion on the subject here. For my part I agree to post nothing offensive on the matter.


confused by your post

Jeff Redding

CBYP: I often tell students who don't do well on exams: "Valid points, but you didn't answer the question." And that's sorta my feeling about trying to interject some 'concern' for student welfare into a blog-post that did not even remotely try to raise this issue. There is an issue of curating here, and I *am* making the editorial decision not to allow scam-porn into every single comment thread for my posts. Simply put: There is absolutely nothing extraordinary or comment-worthy in a professor canceling (and rescheduling) an occasional class here and there, if that is even what happened here--and the assumption that it did is pure speculation and an attempt to change the topic. Please stop.

confused by your post

I will respect your wishes and editorial decision Professor Redding. It's great to bring attention to Professor Hansford's actions on October 13 and his related writing on the matter. Given that this site is a venue for the discussion of legal professors and legal education in combination with the post's subject matter (Prof. Hansford's recent activity) it does not follow that the respectful discussion of potential negatives involved has not been raised as an issue. It has. At any rate, that's the last I will say on the subject.

If there are other topics you feel were raised by your post which you would like to discuss here, then I would legitimately like to participate here.


The "question" to which the content of comments on this post should be directed is unclear.

Are you simply looking for others to validate your view that "racially motivated killings by area police" are the subject of a "beautiful essay" about "protests" written by your colleague?

If not, and you actually invite others to think about, critically examine and discuss this topic, and your obvious assumptions concerning it, why not try to answer the questions posed above:

Did your reference to "racially motivated killings by area police" include the celebrated case involving Michael Brown? If so, what is your evidence that incident was "racially motivated"?

Why was the protest at a Walmart?

Is what a law professor does off campus ever relevant? Under what circumstances would it be legitimate to question a law professor's off campus activities? NO circumstances? Is any question about this topic "porn"? Isn't leadership on any cause a legitimate topic for debate?

Jeff Harrison

Still waiting for an answer to PaulB's question and, thank you PaulB for clarifying the identity of the author of the post.


anon: "Did your reference to "racially motivated killings by area police" include the celebrated case involving Michael Brown? If so, what is your evidence that incident was "racially motivated"?"

Read up on the Ferguson PD.

Anon 2

I am not surprised that the general public has jumped to a conclusion in the Brown case without seeing all the evidence. But, a law professor should know better. What if, when all the evidence is in, it turns out that the shooting was justified-that the officer was defending himself? What will Professor Hansford say then?

And, since when is arresting someone for disrupting a business "Kafkaesque"? How is disrupting a private business "truth to power"? Police are justified in arresting protesters on private property. How is this racially motivated?


"What if, when all the evidence is in, it turns out that the shooting was justified-that the officer was defending himself? What will Professor Hansford say then?"

Easy. He will say the same thing. Individual fairness is not a concern to academics with a strong political agenda. The point is to always advance the primary message, even if it means distorting facts, ignoring reality and impugning the innocent.

I feel bad for all of the decent hardworking people of Ferguson whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the dangerous and disruptive protests of large groups of people whose sincere desire for truth and justice is questionable at best.

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