Injured police officer can’t sue Black Lives Matter or its hashtag, judge rules

Civil Rights

A federal judge in Louisiana has ruled that Black Lives Matter is a social movement, rather than an entity, and it cannot be sued.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson tossed a lawsuit by an injured police officer against the movement and activist DeRay Mckesson, report the Washington Post, USA Today and the Associated Press.

Jackson also said it would be fruitless to amend the suit to include a claim against the movement’s hashtag, which is also incapable of being sued. The “attempt to bring suit against a social movement and a hashtag evinces either a gross lack of understanding of the concept of capacity or bad faith,” Jackson wrote.

The suit was filed on behalf of an anonymous officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department who was injured in July 2016 during a protest against police brutality. His suit argued that Black Lives Matter could be sued because it was a “national unincorporated association” and Mckesson was responsible for the demonstrator who threw a rock and hurt the officer.

Jackson said Mckesson was exercising his constitutional rights of association and speech during the demonstration, and there was no evidence he had “exceeded the bounds of protected speech.”


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