BATON ROUGE, La. -- A federal lawsuit accuses Black Lives Matter and several movement leaders of inciting violence that led to a gunman’s deadly ambush of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge last summer.
DeRay Mckesson and four other Black Lives Matter leaders are named as defendants in the suit filed Friday on behalf of one of the officers wounded in the July 17 attack by a black military veteran, who killed three other officers before he was shot dead.
The suit doesn’t name the officer, but its description of the plaintiff matches East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Tullier, who was has been at a Houston rehabilitation hospital since November.
The same attorneys who filed Friday’s suit previously sued Black Lives Matter and Mckesson on behalf of a Baton Rouge police officer who was injured at a protest over a deadly police shooting last July.
“This is quite a world,” Mckesson said Friday when a reporter informed him of the latest lawsuit.
Gavin Long, a 29-year-old former Marine from Kansas City, Missouri, was armed with a semi-automatic rifle when he killed three officers and wounded three others outside a convenience store and car wash near Baton Rouge police headquarters.
Long had posted rambling internet videos calling for violence in response to police treatment of African-Americans, which he said constituted “oppression.” He apparently posted a YouTube video from Dallas on July 10, three days after a sniper killed five officers and wounded nine others there.
Long also left behind a note saying he believed he had to inflict harm “upon bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together and enact justice and punishment against bad cops.”
The attack came less than two weeks after a white Baton Rouge police officer shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man. Mckesson was one of nearly 200 people arrested in Louisiana’s capital at nightly protests after Sterling’s July 5 death.
Friday’s lawsuit claims Mckesson was “in charge of” a July 9 protest that “turned into a riot.” Mckesson “did nothing to calm the crowd and, instead, he incited the violence” on behalf of Black Lives Matter, the suit alleges.
The suit describes Long as an “activist whose actions followed and mimicked those of” the sniper who killed officers in Dallas days earlier. The suit also claims Black Lives Matter leaders incited others to harm police “in retaliation for the death of black men killed by police” and “all but too late” began to denounce the shootings of police after the Baton Rouge attack.
“Obviously, at this point talk show hosts were holding them responsible, and they were having to defend the blame and responsibility for what they had caused whether in whole or in part,” the suit says.
Mckesson said he hadn’t spoken to his attorney, Billy Gibbens, about the lawsuit and couldn’t immediately comment on its allegations. Gibbens declined to comment.
During a court hearing last month, Gibbens argued Black Lives Matter is a movement, not an organization that can be sued. The federal judge assigned to the first suit against Mckesson hasn’t ruled on that yet.
Long shot Tullier in the head, stomach and shoulder, leaving him with brain damage. By December, the 42-year-old father of two had emerged from a vegetative state, regained some movement of his body and was able to communicate nonverbally.