Campaign Zero co-founder and prominent activist in the Movement for Black Lives DeRay Mckesson is being sued by an unnamed Baton Rouge, La., police officer who claims he was injured during a protest in the city four days after a police officer killed Alton Sterling, and now an attorney for Mckesson is urging a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Advocate reports that a lawyer for the officer on Monday asked Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson to allow the lawsuit to move forward, and to allow his client to remain anonymous for health and safety reasons. But McKesson’s lawyer asked that the case be thrown out.
From The Advocate:
Billy Gibbens, who represents DeRay Mckesson, of Baltimore, argued the suit against Mckesson should be thrown out because it makes only unsupported, speculative allegations.
Donna Grodner, one of the officer’s attorneys, acknowledged in court that it is not known who threw a piece of concrete at the officer, causing him to lose teeth and suffer other injuries during the July 9 protest outside Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters at the intersection of Airline Highway and Goodwood Boulevard.
As previously reported on The Root, the officer, who is identified only as John Doe in the lawsuit, says that he was struck in the face by a “rocklike substance” that was thrown at police during the July 9 protest over the death of 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.
According to The Advocate, while Mckesson’s lawyer, Gibbens, said that he was sorry the officer was injured, he said he thought the officer was suing the wrong person.
Grodner, one of the officer’s attorneys, meanwhile, argued that the protest “turned into a riot” because of Mckesson’s actions, and said that protesters “were begging for the police to come out and confront them.”
Grodner also said that her client should remain anonymous throughout the proceedings for the health and safety of himself and his family, but Gibbens countered, saying that if the officer remained anonymous, “Mr. Mckesson will be unfairly viewed as a threat.”
Grodner conceded that there is no immediate or credible threat against her client, and Gibbens said that there is no justification for the officer to anonymously sue Mckesson and Black Lives Matter.
Read more at The Advocate.