Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson Appeal was rejected by Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court on Monday allowed a Black Lives Matter activist to be sued by a Louisiana police officer hurt during a 2016 protest, in a case that might make public rallies, a hallmark of American democracy, more dangerous.

In declining to hear DeRay Mckesson’s appeal, the justices upheld a lower court decision that revived a lawsuit brought by Baton Rouge police officer John Ford, who accused him of negligence after being struck by a rock during a protest sparked by the fatal police shooting of a Black man, Alton Sterling.

What is the dispute?

The conflict erupted after Alton Sterling, a Black man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was shot and killed by a White police officer outside a convenience store on July 5, 2016. Sterling’s death sparked a wave of protests against police violence, including one that began outside the Baton Rouge Police Department on July 9, 2016.

During the event, a police officer was struck in the face by a boulder or piece of concrete thrown by an anonymous protester, resulting in tooth loss and a brain injury, according to his lawyers. The cop, known in court papers as John Doe, sued Mckesson for negligence in federal court, claiming he anticipated the event would turn violent and failed to quiet the crowd.

Black Lives Matter
Source: The Print

Mckesson, who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, claims the First Amendment shields him from being sued.

The matter has moved through the courts, beginning with a 2017 determination by a federal district court that Mckesson could not be sued. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the decision, stating that Mckesson could be liable. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which remanded the case for further consideration of whether state law permits the litigation.

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