A district judge appointed by Obama has ruled a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy permanently injured during a Black Lives Matter melee can’t sue the organization or its leaders because the radical group is a “social movement” and its leaders were only expressing their rights to free speech when they rallied the crowds into chaos.
By John Friend
In the wake of a string of violent and all too often fatal attacks on police officers across the country last year—attacks that were instigated by radical activists, subversive leftist organizations, and an entirely dishonest mainstream mass media—two separate lawsuits were filed on behalf of American law enforcement officials charging Black Lives Matter (BLM) and its top leaders with inciting, encouraging, and justifying the violence leveled against police.
In late September, however, a federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama shot down one of those suits, claiming that the group and its leaders cannot be sued because they are part of “a social movement” and are, ironically, engaging in free speech that is protected by the Constitution.
As this newspaper recently reported, an unnamed East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy sued BLM and its most prominent leaders, including DeRay Mckesson, a national spokesman for the movement known for his incendiary and radical anti-American views, in the aftermath of an ambush on Louisiana police officers following the shooting death of Alton Sterling, a young black man. The lawsuit alleges that Mckesson and other BLM leaders, along with the overall Black Lives Matter movement, “caused or contributed to” the violence carried out against Baton Rouge law enforcement officers.
BLM and its leaders incited and even justified the violence, the lawsuit contends. Attorney Donna Grodner, who has thus far declined to comment to this reporter, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the sheriff’s deputy. Grodner also filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of yet another police officer, charging BLM—funded by George Soros among others—as being at least partially responsible for the serious injuries inflicted upon the officer during protests following the death of Sterling. During the protests, the officer was struck in the head by a rock hurled by BLM activists, severely injuring his face, jaw, and teeth.
In late September, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, who was appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, dismissed the unnamed officer’s suit, declaring BLM to be a social movement rather than an organized entity capable of being 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 opined in his 24-page ruling dismissing the lawsuit. Jackson argued that Mckesson and the other BLM leaders “solely engaged in protected speech” during the protests that turned violent.
“Plaintiff has pleaded facts that merely demonstrate that Mckesson exercised his constitutional right to association and that he solely engaged in protected speech at the demonstration that took place in Baton Rouge on July 9, 2016,” Jackson stated in his ruling. “I’m happy that this was dismissed and that the judge ruled that the movement can’t be sued because the movement is not an entity,” Mckesson said in an interview with NPR following the judge’s ruling. “It wasn’t started by any one, two or three people.”
Billy Gibbens, Mckesson’s attorney, argued in court proceedings that because BLM is simply a social movement, “there isn’t a person who is responsible for it, or the leader or the founder of it.” Ms. Grodner countered that BLM was an “unincorporated association” and should be held liable for her client’s injuries sustained during the violent protests.
“It’s organized. They have meetings. They solicit money. They have national chapters,” Ms. Grodner argued in court. “This shows a level of national organization.” According to GuideStar, which specializes in reporting on non-profit organizations, there are 35 different non-profit organizations associated with the Black Lives Matter brand comprising various state and national non-profit entities.
Additionally, three individuals—Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza—are identified as founding members of the official #BlackLivesMatter Organization, which has numerous chapters across the country. Mckesson is also regularly identified by major media outlets as a national spokesman and leader of the organization. On its official website, BLM describes itself as “a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of black life” that seeks to “(re)build the black liberation movement.”
The organization affirms the lives of all blacks, including “black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all black lives along the gender spectrum,” demonstrating its radical leftist agenda.
It alleges that “black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state” and that “black lives are deprived of [their] basic human rights and dignity,” when in reality blacks are often elevated in American society and popular culture, while also receiving special privileges such as affirmative action and other state-sanctioned benefits. Ms. Grodner’s other lawsuit, filed on behalf of East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Nick Tullier, who was severely injured when he was shot three times in an attack by former Marine Gavin Long, is still pending in court and is being reviewed by Jackson as well.
John Friend is a writer who lives in California.