Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter Movement and DeRay

(Published using Press This)

(Reuters) – A Louisiana police officer cannot sue Black Lives Matter because it is a social movement, a U.S. judge ruled on Thursday, finding the campaign could not be held responsible for injuries he got at a protest.

The unidentified officer sued Black Lives Matter and an activist involved in a July 2016 protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the officer was struck by a rock.

AP Photo/Max Becherer

The Black Lives Matter movement began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media in 2012 after black high school student Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter.

It grew into a nationwide movement in response to the use of excessive force by police, particularly against black men.

“‘Black Lives Matter,’ as a social movement, cannot be sued, however, in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT rights movement or the Tea Party movement,” Chief Judge Brian Jackson of a U.S District Court in Baton Rouge wrote in a 24-page ruling.

While the movement itself lacked the capacity to be sued, an associated entity could be held liable, Jackson said. But the judge found the officer had not made a sufficient case against such a group or an individual involved and dismissed the lawsuit.

Billy Gibbens, an attorney for DeRay Mckesson, the activist named in the lawsuit, said his client “does not condone violence of any kind, and we are very sorry that the officer was injured.”

“The court was absolutely correct to find that DeRay is not responsible for the criminal conduct of an unidentified person,” Gibbens said in an email.

Attorneys for the officer, Black Lives Matter and the activist named in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It was not clear how the ruling might affect a related lawsuit filed by an officer who was wounded during protests last year in Baton Rouge.

Shout-out to person who provided me with the court decision that you can read at this link.

Posted on 09/28/2017, in Black lives matter, Cases and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Two sides to a story

    Yay. Ridiculous lawsuit. Only the person who threw the rock is responsible.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This lawsuit would be akin to suing everyone at the Charlottesville march where Heather died for her death. Thank goodness for judges with common sense!


    • Mindyme,

      I’m in the process of linking the court’s ruling to the post. The judge ruled:

      “Thus, when a tort is committed in the context of activity that is otherwise protected by the First Amendment, courts
      must use “precision” in determining who may be held liable for the tortious conduct so that the guarantees of the First Amendment are not undermined.”

      That appears to be the standard that the judge used to decide the lawsuit, and I agree with it.

      That lawsuit was just as wrong as individuals who would try to sue the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for littering on their property when Jehovah Witnesses leave pamphlets and other printed material in exercising their religious beliefs.


  3. We will have the rule of law. Thanks for posting this.


  4. David Piercy

    Using the judge’s reasoning everyone in Charlottesville must get a pass because hey…its a social movment


    • The difference between Charlottesville and Baton Rouge, is that the guy driving the car in Charlottesville was captured and charged. He is being held accountable for “unprotected” activity. Had the man who threw the rock hitting the officer been captured and charged, he too could be held accountable.


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