In what appears to be an ego stroke gone awry, a cop tried to sue #BlackLivesMatter, and the judge presiding over the case was just as confused as we are.
An anonymous police officer in Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter movement for allegedly being responsible for violence that took place during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in July 2016.
Not only did the plaintiff hold Black Lives Matter responsible for an alleged assault against him during the protest, the officer filed a lawsuit against BLM activist DeRay McKesson. If that wasn’t enough, his case was so vague that the officer ended up having to sue the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter — and that did not go over well.
The officer of the Baton Rouge Police Department argued that the group and McKesson should be responsible for injuries he sustained when he responded to the protest in 2016. He was struck by a rock or piece of concrete and lost teeth. He also suffered injuries to his jaw, brain, and head.
Federal Judge Brian A. Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, declared in the case that social movements could not be sued, and that the officer could not hold McKesson liable for the actions committed by others.
“For reasons that should be obvious, a hashtag – which is an expression that categorizes or classifies a person’s thought – is not a 'juridical person' and therefore lacks the capacity to be sued,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiff’s 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.”
This case carried no hard evidence and simply no basis for the suit at all. What’s even more confusing is that an officer of the law did not understand the statutes that he protects, and instead tried using them against a social activist.
Adam Steinbaugh, a libertarian free-speech advocate, tweeted that suing a hashtag is outrageous.
This is harassment by litigation, and it’s intended to chill people from speaking up.— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) September 29, 2017
The lawyers here are lucky to walk away with only a benchslap, and not monetary sanctions. You can't sue a hashtag. pic.twitter.com/TOhskU4b82— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) September 29, 2017
The job of police officers entails responding to political and social protests, and any injuries incurred in the line of duty cannot be blamed on the event. The suit really seems like an attempt to throw blame at BLM and intimidate the activists.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts