Society

Black Lives Matter Leaders Sued Over Police Shooting

| by Michael Allen
Black Lives Matter SignBlack Lives Matter Sign

A police officer recently filed a lawsuit against five leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement for allegedly inciting racial violence that led to a shooting rampage that killed three cops in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 17, 2016.

The officer who filed the lawsuit was wounded in the attack, notes Reuters.

DeRay Mckesson and four other Black Lives Matter leaders, who were not the actual shooters, are being sued for at least $75,000 in damages.

Gavin Long, a black man, opened fire on the police officers, shooting six and fatally injuring three. Long was later shot dead.

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On July 5, 2016, two Baton Rouge police officers shot and killed Alton Sterling, a black man, at close range. A video of the killing went viral, and spurred protests against police brutality.

Long, a decorated ex-U.S. Marine sergeant, was reportedly angered by the police killing of Sterling.

Mckesson and the other leaders did not issue a comment on the lawsuit, but Black Lives Matter has repeatedly denied accusations that it has incited anti-police violence.

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The officer's lawsuit says he was shot by "a person violently protesting against police, and which violence was caused or contributed to by the leaders of and by 'BLACK LIVES MATTER.'"

Police arrested McKesson during one of the protests in Baton Rouge, and charged him with simple obstruction of a highway of commerce for allegedly ignoring a police order to stay off a road, notes The New York Times.

Mckesson told the newspaper that the arrest was unlawful, and that the cops were making a mass arrest of protesters who peacefully stood along a highway and were not blocking traffic.

The police made approximate 185 arrests from July 8-11, The Washington Post reports.

A live stream video on Periscope by Mckesson appeared to back up his version of the arrest. Several police cars can be seen on the road in the video, which seemed to be slowing down and blocking traffic.

"The police want protesters to be too afraid to protest, which is why they intentionally created a context of conflict, and I’ll never be afraid to tell the truth," Mckesson told The New York Times at the time. "What we saw in Baton Rouge was a police department that chose to provoke protesters to create, like, a context of conflict they could exploit."

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III decided to drop charges against about 100 of the 185 people who were arrested, The Washington Post reports.

The charges against Mckesson were dropped, as were the charges against Ieshia Evans, who was famously photographed standing in defiance as two police officers in riot gear arrested her on July 9, 2016, near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Sources: Reuters, The New York Times, Deray McKesson/Periscope via YouTube, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr, HimmelrichPR/Flickr, Maina Kiai/Flickr

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