The case against Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson will be sent back to the Fifth Circuit for further review. A Louisiana officer claims Mckesson should be held liable for an injury caused by the actions of an anonymous protester, even though he had no involvement in the crime.
The 21-year-old claims he is being singled out because of his political beliefs, and that students who wrote posts advocating for violence against police officers were not punished. Though the First Amendment generally protects public university student's right to express themselves online, experts say the extent of those protections may be different in the context of military institutions.
The lawsuit claims that the filming of demonstrators violates a state law that prohibits collecting information about the political, religious, or social views of an individual or group who are not suspected of criminal activity. The practice could also discourage protesters from attending demonstrations to avoid state surveillance.
A reporter for Asbury Park Press is suing the city of Belmar, New Jersey and several police officers for assaulting and arresting him during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1st. Filed on July 13th in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the complaint alleges that reporter Gustavo Martínez was “unlawfully tackled, arrested, detained and jailed by law enforcement."
On June 9th, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington filed an emergency lawsuit demanding that the City of Seattle immediately stop using chemical agents on protestors. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Western Washington on behalf of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and individual demonstrators, comes in response to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) continued use of chemical agents for crowd control.
On June 4th, Black Lives Matter and four named protestors sued President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mike Esper, and four other federal officials for the violation of First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, and for conspiring to violate civil rights.
While Judge Willet had originally agreed with the majority opinion—that Mckesson could be held liable for injuries caused by a rogue protester—his new opinion reveals a rare judicial change of mind.
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit ruled that Mckesson could be held liable for injuries he did not immediately cause or encourage. Now, the ACLU is asking the Supreme Court in a petition to overturn the ruling or else risk a widespread chilling effect on protest.