Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From BLM Activist Sued By Police Officer

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The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from a Black Lives Matter activist who is facing a lawsuit from a Baton Rouge police officer hit in the head with an object during a protest in July 2016, per CBS News.

The case of DeRay Mckesson, a BLM activist and protest leader, stems from a demonstration that occurred outside of the Baton Rouge Police Department on July 9, 2016 in response to the police killing of Alton Sterling days earlier.

During the protest, an unidentified protestor threw an object at an officer, which resulted in him losing teeth and suffering a brain injury, the officer's lawyer said. The officer filed a lawsuit against Mckesson, accusing the protest leader of negligence in holding a demonstration that led to violence.

Mckesson is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. He argues that his First Amendment Rights protect him from being sued and that he can't be held liable for the officer's injuries because he didn't authorize or direct the violence.

In 2017, a federal court ruled that Mckesson couldn't be sued. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit later reversed the decision, saying the BLM activist could be liable. Mckesson appealed that ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which said he could be sued for negligence.

In June 2023, the 5th Circuit again ruled that the lawsuit could move forward. Mckesson then took his appeal to the Supreme Court, which rejected the case on Monday (April 15).

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court's decision "expresses no view about the merits of Mckesson's claim," noting that she expects the 5th Circuit to "give full and fair consideration to arguments" in the case.

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