(HorizonPost.com) – Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit brought against protest organizer DeRay McKesson by a Louisiana police officer who was injured at a protest he organized in 2016 can proceed, Reuters reported.
The appeals court allowed an anonymous Louisiana police officer to proceed in his lawsuit that accuses McKesson of negligence, ruling that it is plausible for McKesson to be liable for the officer’s injuries, even though he didn’t cause them, since the injuries were a foreseeable consequence of McKesson’s negligence.
As part of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of Alton Sterling in 2016, McKesson planned to block a portion of a public highway, which is a crime in Louisiana. The court determined that the planned act made a violent confrontation with police likely.
Dissenting Judge Don Willett argued that the appeals court failed to consider that while some speech or action may be illegal in state law, they are still protected by the Constitution.
During the 2016 incident that took place in Baton Rouge, the unnamed police officer was hit by a rock or some similar object that was thrown by one of the protesters.
The officer’s lawsuit was initially dismissed by a federal court in 2017. However, in 2019, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals revived parts of the officer’s complaint. McKesson appealed to the Supreme Court which vacated the appeals court’s ruling in 2020, arguing that the Louisiana Supreme Court needed to review the case due to the “novelty of the claim.”
The Louisana Supreme Court held that the state’s tort law allows protest organizers to be held liable for the actions of the other protesters.
According to Hot Air columnist Jazz Shaw, in making its decision, the appeals court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit. Instead, the court only allowed the officer’s lawsuit to proceed.
Shaw maintains that the complaint will have a difficult road ahead.
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