Ohio bakery awarded $11 million in libel lawsuit against Oberlin College over alleged racial profiling

A local bakery said an Oberlin College dean handed out fliers saying the business was racist.

(CNN)An Ohio jury has ordered Oberlin College to pay $11 million to a bakery which said it was libeled and wrongfully accused of racially profiling students.

The case stems from the November 2016 arrests of three black Oberlin students at Gibson's Bakery and market near the college's campus in Oberlin, Ohio.
One student, Jonathan Aladin, was accused of attempted robbery for allegedly trying to "steal wine or otherwise illegally obtain wine" from the bakery, according to a defamation lawsuit. He would eventually confess in a written statement to trying to buy alcohol illegally.
    The two other suspects were arrested and accused of misdemeanor assault, court documents state.
    After that, Oberlin staff members tried to discredit the family-owned bakery, the lawsuit says.
    The shop said defamation and boycotts by Oberlin have had a "devastating effect on Gibson's Bakery and the Gibson family."
    Oberlin College staff -- including deans and professors -- and students engaged in demonstrations in front of Gibson's Bakery following the arrests of the three students, the lawsuit stated.
    The suit also said Oberlin Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and other college staff members "handed out hundreds of copies" of a flier to the community and the media stating that Gibson's Bakery and its owners racially profiled and discriminated against the three students.
    The court documents include a copy of the flier, which included the words "DON'T BUY."
    "This is a RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION," the flier read, according to the lawsuit.
    The flier also listed 10 of the bakery's competitors and urged customers to shop there instead.
    Then in November 2016, the lawsuit stated, Oberlin College said it severed its business ties with Gibson's Bakery. The shop had provided baked goods for the school's dining services through a third-party company.
    While those business ties were reinstated three months later, the shop had already suffered severe consequences, the suit said.
    The combined effects of the "defamation, boycotts, demonstrations, and refusal to do business with Gibson's Bakery was having a devastating effect on Gibson's Bakery and the Gibson family," the lawsuit stated.
    In August 2017, nine months after the three