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Louisiana Judge Rules Cop Cannot Sue Black Lives Matter
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DeRay McKesson. Photo courtesy of Comedy Central.

Summary: A Louisiana judge dismissed a police officer’s claim that Black Lives Matter was liable for his 2016 injuries.

A Lousiana federal judge said that Black Lives Matter is not an entity that can be sued. According to Fox News, the judge made the ruling in a case filed by an anonymous officer who was injured at a BLM demonstration in July 2016.

  
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U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson said that Black Lives Matter is a social movement like the Tea Party, and since a movement is not an entity, it cannot be sued.

“Although many entities have utilized the phrase ‘black lives matter’ in their titles or business designations, ‘Black Lives Matter’ itself is not an entity of any sort,” Jackson stated in his decision.

Jackson ruled on a case filed in November of 2016. An unnamed cop from Baton Rouge sued Black Lives Matter creator DeRay McKesson, Black Lives Matter, and “#BlackLivesMatter,” blaming them for injuries he suffered during a violent protest in July of that year.

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In addition to stating BLM cannot be sued, Judge Jackson cleared McKesson and said the hashtag was not an entity. He said that the activist was engaged in “protected speech” while at the protest and that “#BlackLivesMatter” was not an unincorporated association in California like the plaintiff had claimed.

“For reasons that should be obvious, a hashtag – which is an expression that categorizes or classifies a person’s thought – is not a ‘juridical person’ and therefore lacks the capacity to be sued,” Judge Jackson wrote.



The plaintiff said that during the protest he was hit in the face by a “rock like substance” and he lost teeth and sustained injuries to his jaw and brain. The cop did not accuse McKesson of throwing the rock but said that McKesson led a protest that “turned into a riot.”

After news of the decision broke, McKesson told WRAL that he was not guilty of wrongdoing.

“It’s clear that I did nothing wrong that day and that the police were the only violent people in the streets,” Mckesson said. “The movement began as a call to end violence and that call remains the same today.”

The Black Lives Matter protest was a response to the death of Alton Sterling, a black man killed by a white police officer.

Almost a week after the protest, a masked man, later identified as Gavin Long, ambushed a Baton Rouge police station and murdered several officers. Afterwards, McKesson and Black Lives Matter were sued again for inciting violence. The case is still pending but it will also be ruled upon by Judge Jackson.

The officer, as well as the plaintiff in the second case, are represented by attorney Donna Grodner who declined to comment on the litigation but explained her decision to sue Black Lives Matter in a hearing in June.

“It’s organized. They have meetings. They solicit money. They have national chapters,” Grodner said. “This shows a level of national organization.”

McKesson’s attorney Billy Giddens had responded in court that Black Lives Matter was not an entity because it lacked a governing body, dues-paying members or bylaws.

What do you think of Black Lives Matter? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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