The officer who is suing the protest group, and five of its leaders, is not named in the lawsuit itself, but based on information in the suit it appears he is Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Tullier. Tullier was severely injured during the attack last summer by Gavin Long. From CBS News:
During the ambush, Long shot Tullier in the head, stomach and shoulder, leaving him with brain damage. By December, the 42-year-old father of two had emerged from a vegetative state, regained some movement of his body and was able to communicate nonverbally…
Friday’s lawsuit claims Mckesson was “in charge of” a July 9 protest that “turned into a riot.” Mckesson “did nothing to calm the crowd and, instead, he incited the violence” on behalf of Black Lives Matter, the suit alleges.
The suit describes Long as an “activist whose actions followed and mimicked those of” the sniper who killed officers in Dallas days earlier. The suit also claims Black Lives Matter leaders incited others to harm police “in retaliation for the death of black men killed by police” and “all but too late” began to denounce the shootings of police after the Baton Rouge attack.
Officer Tullier has had his life destroyed by Gavin Long. And there’s little doubt at this point that Gavin Long’s motivation was exactly what it seemed to be, i.e. he wanted to attack police over recently reported police shootings of black men. He had even searched for the home addresses of the two officers involved in the shooting of Alton Sterling.
Here I’ll add the usual caveat that I am not a lawyer. With that said, what I’m not seeing in this case is the incitement to kill. Where is the direct link between what Deray McKesson does and what Gavin Long did. The closest I see from the news reports is the claim that McKesson wasn’t quick to denounce the Dallas shooting which took place about a week before the Baton Rouge shooting. I’m not even sure if it’s true that McKesson didn’t denounce it, but even assuming it is that seems like a thin reed on which to base the case.
I’m not denying that both Long and McKesson were inspired by the same events. I’m not even opposed to the idea that Long was following some of what BLM was saying about these incidents, though I haven’t seen proof of that. But, ultimately, Gavin Long was fairly clear that he believed “100% of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors… have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed.” He felt violence was the only way police behavior would change.
So am I defending Black Lives Matter and Deray McKesson here? There have been many incidents where BLM supporters crossed a line to what might be considered incitement to violence, i.e people marching in the street chanting “What do we want? Dead cops!” or others chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” In Deray McKesson’s case, he has engaged in some conspiracy theorizing about the death of Sandra Bland, which was irresponsible. But McKesson has clearly taken the position that protest (and tweeting) can change things. He has not, so far as I’m aware, suggested murder was necessary, much less openly urged people to shoot cops.
To be clear, I’m not a fan of BLM and Deray in particular, though I could support some of the reform ideas they also support such as body cameras for police officers. My objection to BLM is that the movement has been built on a foundation of lies, first about the Trayvon Martin case, then about the Michael Brown case (“Hands up, don’t shoot!”), then the Sandra Bland case and so on. Even after the truth comes out in each instance, BLM leaders continue to wink at the falsehoods because they are effective at getting people into the streets. That’s not to say there aren’t some real police shootings worthy of outrage. There are. But the highest profile cases, the ones that have kickstarted BLM and generated the most media and attention, often don’t match up very closely with the narrative BLM activists are promoting.
What’s really frustrating about this, of course, is that the left frequently does not take a consistent approach to violence committed by someone against the left. We all know what happened with Sarah Palin and Jared Loughner. The facts didn’t matter so long as the far-left could claim a right-wing “climate of hate” was responsible. When the same “climate of hate” argument is turned around after an incident like the one in Dallas, or Baton Rouge, or Alexandria the climate of hate argument is suddenly of no interest.
So here it is. I’m being as consistent as I can. Protesters, even dishonest ones like Deray, aren’t responsible for a person who decides to get violent for the same cause, just as pro-lifers aren’t responsible for every person who shoots up a Planned Parenthood. But if we’re not going to apply the “climate of hate” argument in this case, then we shouldn’t apply it in any case.