In 2016, a group of protesters was led out onto a Louisiana highway by Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson in an illegal effort to shut down traffic. Police arrived and began arresting people who refused to clear the highway, including Mckesson himself. At that point, things turned ugly and some of the protesters began attacking the police. One unidentified officer was struck in the head with a rock, suffering serious injuries in the process.
The rock thrower was never identified nor brought to justice. In response, the officer (identified only as John Doe) took McKesson to court to sue him, claiming that he was negligent and should have known that his actions could lead to such injuries. A lower court rejected the case, but on appeal, the Fifth Circuit overruled, allowing the suit to move forward. Now Mckesson’s attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to review the decision. (WaPo)
Civil rights lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a lawsuit that activists and legal scholars fear could have wide-reaching consequences for protest organizers across the country.
A police officer, who was hit in the head by a rock thrown at a 2016 demonstration in Louisiana, sued prominent Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay Mckesson on the premise that Mckesson should have foreseen the possibility of violence at the protest and be held accountable for it. Mckesson didn’t throw the rock or tell anyone else to throw it…
Legal scholars and lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union balked at the decision. They said allowing the case to proceed in the face of civil rights protections long guaranteed to protesters could pave the way for similar lawsuits and have a chilling effect on protest organizers nationwide.