Chief Judge Brian Jackson of the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana [official website], held Thursday that a police officer could not sue Black Lives Matter (BLM) for injuries sustained during a protest on July 9, 2016 because BLM is not an entity.
An unnamed police officer filed the lawsuit after the July 17, 2016, BLM protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during which a rock was thrown at the officer.
The officer named BLM as well as several individuals associated with BLM as defendants, including DeRay McKeeson, a BLM activist and leader.
In his ruling [opinion, PDF] Jackson said BLM is not an entity and cannot be sued. Additionally, he dismissed [Reuters report] McKeeson as a Defendant because McKeeson cannot be liable for criminal conduct of an unidentified person:
Moreover, to premise Mckesson’s liability on the sole basis of his public statements in which he identified himself as a “leader” of the “Black Lives Matter” movement or a “participant” in various demonstrations … would impermissibly impose liability on Mckesson for merely exercising his right of association.
Jackson also noted that an associated entity could be sued for the officer’s allegations, but the officer did not make a sufficient case concerning such entity. The officer is required to file an amended complaint or the lawsuit will be dismissed entirely.
This decision may affect another lawsuit filed by a police officer who was shot in the abdomen during the July 17, 2016, protest. That lawsuit currently sits before Jackson in the Middle District Court as well.