BATON ROUGE, La. (CN) – A white police officer left disabled after being shot in a Louisiana ambush sued Black Lives Matter and its organizers, saying they incited violence against police after several high-profile police-involved shootings of black men.
The officer, identified only as “Officer John Doe Smith” in the federal lawsuit filed Friday in Baton Rouge, says he is permanently disabled after being shot in his head, shoulder and abdomen during a July 17, 2016, ambush by a former Marine sergeant that left three officers dead and three seriously wounded.
Along with Black Lives Matter, the lawsuit names DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, all prominent founders and leaders of the group, as defendants. It alleges their rhetoric encouraged violence against police officers.
Officer John Doe Smith is 42 and a father of two, the lawsuit says. At the time of the ambush, he was an 18-year veteran of the police force. Smith says since being shot last summer, he has undergone 16 surgeries, anticipates having to undergo several more, and now has to wear a colonoscopy bag.
“On July 17, 2016, Officer John Doe Smith was in the course and scope of his duties as a duly commissioned policed officer when he was shot by a person violently protesting against police, and which violence was caused or contributed to by the leaders of and by ‘Black Lives Matter,’ a militant antipolice national organization,” the complaint says.
The gunman, Gavin Long, 29, reportedly traveled to Baton Rouge from Kansas City, Mo. following the July 5, 2016, shooting death of Alton Sterling, a black man killed by police as he sold CDs outside a convenience store.
Long ambushed the police officers as they investigated reports of a man walking with a rifle along Airline Highway. He was shot and killed in the ensuing gun battle.
But the Baton Rouge attack wasn’t the only incident targeting officers in the wake of Sterling’s death, nor was it the only ambush.
Days earlier, an Army veteran named Micah Johnson opened fired on officers standing alongside a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.
Five police officers were killed and seven others were wounded in the gunfire.
In the wake of the Baton Rouge ambush, the Kansas City Star reported that Long appeared to be aligned with a “sovereign citizen” ideology, whose followers believe the government is corrupt and out of control and has no jurisdiction over them.
In a suicide note, Long called his actions a “necessary evil” meant to “create substantial change within America’s police force” and he wrote that he needed to “bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people, upon bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together to enact justice and punishment against bad cops.”
An extensive investigative report after the shootings showed Long had not attended any Black Lives Matter protests in Baton Rouge after Sterling’s death, nor was he someone who believed in the value of such protests.
But Smith says whether Long had a direct relationship with Black Lives Matter is beside the point. Smith contends the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter activists was ride with “disdain, violence and hatred against police” and created the atmosphere in which he was shot.
“In 2016, as a leader of Black Lives Matter, DeRay Mckesson and the other Defendants planned the Summer of Chaos, Weekend of Rage, and used the internet and social media to organize, stage and orchestrate protests and to attend and/or lead multiple protests and violence that accompanied the protests including, among many others, those in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; McKinney, Texas; Dallas, Texas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit claims at least 11 police officers have been killed to date by Black Lives Matter protestors and that at least nine others have been wounded.
“The leaders of BLM and Defendants, not only, incited the violence against police in retaliation for the death of black men shot by police, but also did nothing to dissuade the ongoing violence and injury to police. In fact, they justified the violence as necessary to the movement and war,” the lawsuit says.
“The shooter who shot John Doe Police Officer was from Kansas City,” the lawsuit says. “The shooter left Kansas City and went to Dallas following the Black Lives Matter Protest and police shooting there. From Dallas, he went to Baton Rouge to extract revenge for killing and acting out in violence, as BLM leaders had directed its followers as to how to react to killing of black men by police, and that retaliation against police was proper behavior in warfare and revolution.
Attorney Donna Grodner, who represents the plaintiff officer, did not immediately respond to a phoned request for comment.
This is the second lawsuit filed by Grodner on behalf of a police officer against Mckesson and Black Lives Matter. In the previous lawsuit an unnamed police officer sought damages for injuries he reportedly sustained during a Black Lives Matter protest.
The lawsuit seeks damages for pain and suffering and seeks repayment of prescription drug costs and hospital bills.
“This is quite a world,” Mckesson, a former school administrator who spent time working as a teacher in the prestigious Teach for America program, reportedly told the AP upon being made aware of the lawsuit. He told CNN later that he was “confident” the lawsuit “has no merit.”