Baton Rouge, La., Police Officer Sues DeRay Mckesson for Protest Injury

The lawsuit alleges that Mckesson incited violence on behalf of Black Lives Matter.

DeRay Mckesson
DeRay Mckesson Joe Kohen/Getty Images for LinkedIn

A Baton Rouge, La., police officer who says that he was injured during a protest of a deadly police shooting filed a lawsuit against prominent activist and Campaign Zero co-founder DeRay Mckesson on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, the officer, who is identified only as John Doe in the lawsuit, says he was struck in the face by a “rock like substance” that was thrown at police during a July 9 protest over the death of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by two white police officers July 5.

The suit, which also names Black Lives Matter as a defendant, doesn’t accuse Mckesson of throwing anything at officers, but says he “incited the violence” on behalf of Black Lives Matter.

The suit says that Mckesson “was in charge of the protests and he was seen and heard giving orders throughout the day and night of the protests. The protests turned into a riot.”

The officer, who is seeking unspecified damages in the suit, says that he lost teeth and had injuries to his jaw and brain.

AP reports that Mckesson said he has not seen the lawsuit and couldn’t immediately comment on it.

Mckesson was among the nearly 200 protesters arrested at the July 9 demonstration, and one of several that have sued the city of Baton Rouge over their arrests, saying that police used excessive force and violated their civil rights.

The unnamed officer is using anonymity “for his protection,” and in a separate court filing Monday, he cited the July 7 sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers, as well as the July 17 shooting that killed three officers in Baton Rouge, as grounds for concealing his identity.

The lawsuit claims that Mckesson is a “managing member” of Black Lives Matter, which it describes as a “national unincorporated association.”

New Orleans Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino told AP that it’s really unusual for an officer to sue under a pseudonym in a case of this kind, and added that it would be difficult for attorneys to prove that Mckesson or Black Lives Matter aided and abetted the alleged battery or allowed it to happen.

Mckesson was arrested July 9 near Baton Rouge police headquarters on a charge of obstructing a highway. According to AP, he is one of roughly 100 arrested protesters who will not be prosecuted for the charge by East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Read more at the Baltimore Sun.

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