Center for Security Policy
For Immediate Release
August 25, 2017
Contact: Christopher Holton
NASHVILLE — When it comes to suspicious, potentially terrorist activity, Americans are encouraged to, “if you see something, say something.” But before they do so, they should have a right to know that they won’t be sued for their efforts.
The impact of such frivolous litigation extends outside the courtroom and across our society and culture. Americans are conditioned to stay silent out of political correctness and fear of being labeled a “bigot.”
America needs citizens to be vigilant. We cannot depend solely on law enforcement to uncover suspicious activity. Numerous crimes have been prevented and criminals have been apprehended as a result of reports by private citizens. There have even been instances when members of terrorist organizations in the United States have been apprehended due to such reports, notably a Charlotte, North Carolina Hezbollah cell in 1998.
Recently, Tennessee became the latest state to protect its citizens from such lawfare suits designed to silence witnesses. Authored by State Representative Judd Matheny and State Senator Mark Green, Tennessee’s “Freedom to Report Act” immunizes individuals who in good faith report suspected potential criminal or terrorist activity from unfounded lawsuits, thereby encouraging citizens who “see something to “say something” and help law enforcement agencies protect us from crime and further terrorist attacks.
The law provides (1) that individuals who report suspicious, potentially terrorist activity in good faith cannot be sued as a consequence, and (2) that suits against such individuals alleging that the report was made in bad faith must be pleaded with particularity.
The law protects people who “say something” by preventing them from being sued when they, in good faith, with a reasonable belief, report suspicious behavior that they believe constitutes, is indicative of, or is in furtherance of a crime or an act of terrorism.
For their admirable efforts to protect Tennessee and its citizens, Senator Green and Representative Matheny have been selected by the Center for Security Policy to be 2017 recipients of its Defender of Freedom Award. The awards were presented to the lawmakers at a press conference in Nashville on Friday.
Christopher Holton, Vice President for Outreach at the Center had this to say: “Senator Green and Representative Matheny have stood up for the safety, security and constitutional rights of the citizens of Tennessee for years now. If anything, this award is long overdue. This small token of appreciation could never do justice to the exemplary work that these two fine gentlemen have done on numerous pieces of important legislation in Nashville. It is with great pleasure that the Center recognizes them as 2017 Defenders of Freedom.”
The lawmakers were honored along with Tennessee Eagle Forum’s Bobbie Patray. Patray has been a leader on legislative initiatives to counter terrorism, preserve the integrity of Tennessee’s education system and to protect the constitutional rights of Tennessee’s citizens.
Holton added, “Bobbie Patray is a national treasure. The people of Tennessee—and especially its elected and appointed officials—are indeed blessed to have her as a leader on the side of all that is good, right and just.”