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Supreme Court To Allow Lawsuit Against BLM Activist To Move Forward

via Harvard Online
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The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a case allowing a civil lawsuit against a Black Lives Matter activist to proceed.

A Louisiana police officer sued DeRay Mckesson for negligence after being injured by a rock thrown at a 2016 protest over the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.

“In declining to hear DeRay Mckesson’s appeal, the justices left in place a lower court’s decision reviving a lawsuit by the Baton Rouge police officer, John Ford, who accused him of negligence after being struck by a rock during a protest sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man, Alton Sterling,” one report noted.

“The Baton Rouge protest was one of numerous demonstrations in the United States in 2015 and 2016 arising from incidents involving police and Black individuals. These predated the massive racial justice protests that flared in various cities in the United States and abroad following the 2020 murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis,” the report added.

While Mckesson argued his First Amendment rights shielded him, a lower court ruled the suit could continue.

The decision could make it easier to sue protest leaders over unlawful attendee conduct, which some say could deter political activism.

The DOJ report stated, “Investigators later confirmed that Sterling’s gun was loaded with six bullets at the time of this exchange.”

“Following the shooting, Officers Salamoni and Lake each provided a detailed statement offering his version of how and why this shooting happened. According to the officers, Sterling was large and very strong, and from the very beginning resisted their commands. The officers reported that they responded with multiple different compliance techniques and that Sterling resisted the entire time. Both officers reported that when they were on the ground, they saw Sterling’s right hand in his pocket, with his hand on a gun,” the DOJ’s report noted.

The Sterling shooting involved a struggle with officers who said Sterling resisted arrest and reached for a gun in his pocket, prompting gunfire.

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