Law prof won’t be disciplined for 'run them down' tweet about Charlotte protesters
University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds was exercising his First Amendment rights when he posted a tweet about Charlotte, North Carolina, protesters that read “run them down,” according to the dean of the law school.
In a statement on Tuesday, University of Tennessee law dean Melanie Wilson said Reynolds has apologized and no disciplinary action will be taken, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.) and the Knoxville News Sentinel report.
“Nevertheless, the tweet offended many members of our community and beyond,” Wilson wrote, “and I understand the hurt and frustration they feel.”
Reynolds blogs at Instapundit and writes a column for USA Today, which suspended his column for a month because of the controversial tweet last Thursday. Twitter also suspended Reynolds’ account until he took down the tweet. He has since issued an apology.
“Thursday one of my 580,000 tweets blew up,” he wrote in a statement posted at the law school website. “I try to be careful and precise in my language. I didn’t do that this time, and I unfortunately made a lot of people in the law school community sad or angry, something I certainly didn’t mean to do, and feel bad about.
“I was following the riots in Charlotte, against a background of reports of violence, which seemed to be getting worse. Then I retweeted a report of mobs ‘stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles’ with the comment ‘run them down.’”
“Those words can be taken as encouragement of drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I’m sorry it seemed to many that I did. What I meant was that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles.”
His tweet should have read, “Keep driving,” or, “Don’t stop,” Reynolds said.