Judge rules that Black Lives Matter can't be sued
A judge hearing the case of a police officer injured during a riot in Baton Rouge instigated by Black Lives Matter ruled that the group cannot be sued because it is a "social movement" and not an "entity."
Black Lives Matter is not an entity, but a social movement, Louisiana Middle District Judge Brian A. Jackson wrote. "Therefore, all claims against 'Black Lives Matter' must be dismissed because social movements lack the capacity to be sued."
The suing Baton Rouge police officer, who remained unnamed in the lawsuit, said he was hit by concrete or rock-like objects while responding to a demonstration led by DeRay Mckesson for Black Lives Matter and had "several serious injuries," according to court documents.
Protests, vigils and memorials sprang up nationwide after the shooting of Sterling by police outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. In a graphic cellphone video that was widely shared on social media, police officers can be seen on top of the African-American man before shots were fired.
The injured officer said Mckesson and Black Lives Matter were liable for his injuries because they were negligent and should have known the protests would turn to riots and become violent.
Mckesson was exercising his constitutional right to demonstrate, the judge ruled, and he cannot be held liable for the conduct of other protesters.
"All of this highlights the need for deep, deep changes in the city of Baton Rouge." Mckesson told CNN. "It is not a new tactic that people try to use the courts to silence activists and organizers. I am happy that the judge dismissed the lawsuit and understood I had no part in the officer's injuries."
A second lawsuit, filed on behalf of another anonymous police officer who was injured in a July 17, 2016, shooting that killed three Baton Rouge officers, lists Mckesson, Black Lives Matter and others as defendants. That case is before the same judge.
Federal prosecutors said earlier this year that there isn't enough evidence to charge the two officers involved in Sterling's death.
When you refer to police as "terrorists" and accuse them of deliberately targeting black people, you should be held accountable for inciting people to violence. This holds true for the Baton Rouge shooter, who emailed a friend this message less than an hour before committing the murders:
Long described his belief that the shooting was necessary to "create substantial change within America's police force." He also wrote his belief that there was a "concealed war" between "good cops" and "bad cops", and that he had to attack "bad cops" as vengeance for perceived destruction that they continued to inflict on blacks.
The sentiments against police officers expressed by the shooter are similar to those expressed by several Black Lives Matter leaders.
I don't think the judge read Mckesson's words. Surely, an individual can be held responsible for his rhetoric, if not the "social movement" he purports to lead. Mckesson not only was invited to the Obama White House, but also lectured at Yale University. Whether this patina of respectability played a role in the judge's decision is unknown. But until Black Lives Matter is held responsible for their rhetoric, just like anyone else, the violence will continue.