BATON ROUGE — A local police officer recently filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson after the officer allegedly was injured during a protest.
The officer’s suit said he was hit in the face by something similar to a rock during a protest over the shooting of Alton Sterling, who was black, by two white officers.
While the suit doesn’t accuse Mckesson of throwing anything at the officer, it claims he “incited the violence” on behalf of Black Lives Matter. The organization also was named a defendant in the suit. Mckesson finds himself as defendant because, according to the suit, “he was in charge of the protests and he was seen and heard as giving orders throughout the day and night of the protests. The protests turned into a riot.”
Unspecified damages are sought. The suit says the officer lost teeth and had jaw and brain injuries. Mckesson said he hadn’t seen the suit and could not comment on it. He was one of approximately 200 protestors who was arrested during the protests. He and other protestors have filed their own suit against the city of Baton Rouge over the arrests, siting excessive force by the police and that their constitutional rights were violated.
“This will be a very difficult case to prove unless there is evidence Mckesson actually aided and abetted the intentional battery,” Loyola University New Orleans law professor Dane Ciolino told the Louisiana Record.
The officer who is suing Mckesson has remained anonymous “for his protection,” according to the suit. A separate court filing pointed to a sniper attack that killed five police officers in Dallas and a shooting that killed three Baton Route officers as reason for keeping the officer’s identity private.
The suit described Black Lives Matter as a “national unincorporated association” and said Mckesson is a “managing member.” Mckesson, however, claims that while he’s a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, no organization actually started it.
The officer’s attorney, Donna Grodner, declined to elaborate on the suit’s allegations, but said her client is being treated for his injuries. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards expressed his support for the police during the protests. He noted that a police officer had teeth knocked out by a rock during the protests, but there’s no confirmation if the officer he referred to was the one suing Mckesson. Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Don Coppola also declined to comment on the suit.
“Unless there is proof he is actually encouraging violence, it’ll be difficult to prove that he should be liable for the violent act of a third person,” Ciolino said.