A Louisiana judge recently ruled that Black Lives Matter cannot be sued because it’s a social movement and not a person or formal organization.
“Black Lives Matter,” as a social movement, cannot be sued, however, in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the L.G.B.T. rights movement, or the Tea Party movement. If he could state a plausible claim for relief, a plaintiff could bring suit against entities associated with those movements, though, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Human Rights Campaign, or Tea Party Patriots,” said Chief Judge Brian Jackson, of the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge.
This ruling came in response to an anonymously filed police officer’s lawsuit that blamed DeRay Mckesson, one of the movement’s strongest voices, and four other BLM leaders for his injuries during a protest. The officer was injured by a rock thrown during a protest over a deadly police shooting in Baton Rouge last year. The July 9, 2016 demonstration followed the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man, by a white Baton Rouge police officer.
According to the New York Times, in his ruling, Judge Jackson said that the lawsuit against several parties, including BLM and Mckesson, suffered from “numerous deficiencies.”
“Although many entities have utilized the phrase ‘black lives matter’ in their titles or business designations, ‘Black Lives Matter’ itself is not an entity of any sort,” Jackson wrote in his 24-page ruling.
Meanwhile, a second lawsuit is pending against McKesson, the BLM organization and the hashtag #Black Lives Matter, brought by a sheriff’s deputy wounded in the same protest. Reportedly, Judge Jackson is likely to dismiss that suit as well.
During that protest, military veteran Gavin Long went on a shooting spree and killed three officers. Several others were wounded. The suit claims BLM incited Long’s deadly police ambush. The Chicago Tribune reports that Mckesson and Black Lives Matter were also sued after the sniper attack by Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative group Freedom Watch.