Judge Tosses Injured Cop’s Claims Against Black Lives Matter

FILE – In this March 26, 2016, file photo, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson chats with campaign volunteers in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (CN) – A federal judge dismissed a second lawsuit accusing Black Lives Matter and several of the movement’s leaders of inciting violence that culminated in a gunman’s deadly attack on Louisiana police officers last year.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson ruled late Friday that the attorney for an unnamed Baton Rouge, La., police officer who was wounded in the July 2016 attacks had “utterly failed to state a plausible claim” for relief against Black Lives Matter, its leader DeRay Mckesson and others.

The judge said the officer’s attorney had instead “launched into a confused attack” against Black Lives Matter and the other defendants in the lawsuit, “whom she alleges are inspired by ‘a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary.’”

The officer – identified in court documents only as Officer John Doe Smith – was injured in the July 17, 2016 ambush by a shooter outraged over the police killing of black man Alton Sterling days earlier. Three other officers were killed.

Mckesson and the other defendants have said the shooter was not a member of Black Lives Matter.

Judge Jackson previously ruled Black Lives Matter is a social movement and cannot be sued. Last month, he dismissed a separate lawsuit in which a Baton Rouge police officer claimed Black Lives Matter and Mckesson had caused his injuries during a protest over Sterling’s death.

Attorney Donna Grodner of Baton Rouge filed both lawsuits.

After dismissing the first lawsuit against Black Lives Matter, Jackson warned in early October that he would throw out the second one as well, unless substantially different claims were made.

“Based on the facts alleged, plaintiff’s counsel has failed to plead a plausible claim that defendants can be held liable for Officer Smith’s injuries,” the judge wrote in Friday’s ruling. “Instead, plaintiff’s counsel simply asserts—without pointing to any supporting facts—that the shooter was acting ‘as [‘Black Lives Matter’] leaders had directed its followers.’”

Jackson ruled that isn’t enough to assert a claim against the movement and Mckesson.

He said Grodner had not shown that there was “any contact either directly or indirectly” between Black Lives Matter and the shooter, Gavin Long, a 29-year-old former Marine from Kansas City, Mo.

Long shot and killed three police officers and wounded three others near police headquarters. The ambush ended with Long being shot dead. It occurred less than two weeks after Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by white police officers outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge.

During the days between Sterling’s death and the bloody ambush that left the officers dead, protestors, including Black Lives Matter members, had congregated daily near where Sterling was shot.

Jackson ruled that Officer Smith had not proved any connection between Long’s massacre and Black Lives Matter.

“In the alternative, the court finds that defendants ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ are not entities capable of being sued,” the judge wrote.

Grodner had requested more time to amend her complaint, but Jackson declined.

“Plaintiff’s counsel requests the opportunity to amend the complaint only to add more of the same: allegations against defendants unconnected to the incident giving rise to the tragic shooting of Officer Smith,” he wrote.

Grodner did not immediately respond Monday to an email request for comment.

She told the Associated Press on Friday that she would like to respond but did not think it would be appropriate under the circumstances.

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