Supreme Court takes a pass on holding a violent agitator accountable.
While Americans were preoccupied in the fall with the presidential election, the Supreme Court quietly let Black Lives Matter agitator DeRay Mckesson, an outspoken apologist for political violence directed at police, completely off the hook for the vicious maiming of a police officer at a rowdy protest he organized.
Mckesson, of course, is on record as favoring mob violence against police officers.
At a July 9, 2016 protest that social media star Mckesson (who has a million followers on Twitter) unlawfully led onto a highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the police officer involved suffered brain trauma, a head injury, and lost teeth after an unknown assailant threw a rock or piece of concrete at him. Mckesson, who had encouraged people to block Airline Highway outside the city’s police headquarters, managed to extract a cash payment from the city over his allegedly heavy-handed, livestreamed arrest, as the Advocate reported Nov. 22, 2016. (Mckesson also filed a frivolous lawsuit against former Judge Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host, and Fox itself, for defamation. A judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York dismissed the action in March 2019.)
True to form, Mckesson painted himself as a victim.
“The police want protesters to be too afraid to protest, which is why they intentionally created a context of conflict, and I’ll never be afraid to tell the truth,” he later said, according to the New York Times. “What we saw in Baton Rouge was a police department that chose to provoke protesters to create, like, a context of conflict they could exploit.”
The BLM radicals were protesting the police-involved July 5, 2016 death of a notoriously violent criminal who had reportedly menaced an innocent by-stander with a gun. Recidivist felon Alton Sterling, a registered sex offender well known to local law enforcement, was shot to death by police in Baton Rouge after a physical struggle with police in which Sterling reached for a weapon.
The policemen were cleared after federal and state investigations. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote in a 2018 report that “the officers in question acted as reasonable officers under existing law and were justified in their use of force.”
Mckesson, you may recall, thrilled liberal fascists across the fruited plain when he glibly made excuses for cops being assaulted as he justified politically driven, organized unrest during an infamous April 28, 2015 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. In the TV appearance, he shrugged at the Black Lives Matter-led looting and destruction of private businesses in his home town of Baltimore.
“I think that the unrest, the uprising, whatever you call it, is again a cry for justice here and a cry for justice across the country because the police continue to terrorize people,” he whined in postmodernist-sounding cant. “The terrorizing is actually deadly. Broken windows are not broken spines. People are in pain.”
Police officers attacked by angry mobs are only getting what they deserve, Mckesson implied.
When Blitzer said, “But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires, these are statistics, local police have put out 15 structure fires. There is no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”
Mckesson replied, “Again, there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore Police Department has killed in the past year either, right?”
Mckesson is a longtime supporter of slavery reparations for today’s black Americans, which would involve the forced redistribution of wealth a century and a half after slavery was abolished following a bloody civil war, from people who never owned to slaves to people who have never been slaves.
Mckesson also supports looting as a way to advance the Black Lives Matter movement. During a teaching gig Yale University gave him for being a famous leftist, he led a class in a discussion of “In Defense of Looting,” an essay by Willie Osterweil. Mckesson’s talk was a mixture of black liberation theology, critical race theory, banal Marxist cliches, and anarchism.
Then-President Barack Obama honored Mckesson and other Black Lives Matter leaders, meeting with them at the White House on Feb. 18, 2016, the Baltimore Sun reported. Afterwards, Obama praised Mckesson, saying he had carried out “outstanding work mobilizing in Baltimore.”
Surprisingly, Mckesson prevailed in Mckesson v. Doe, an unsigned 7-1 opinion that was handed down Nov. 2 by the high court. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the ruling but did not explain why. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who had just arrived at the court days before, did not participate in the case.
The lazy justices of the Supreme Court couldn’t even be bothered to hold oral arguments in the case. They just did what Mckesson and his ACLU lawyers told them to do.
In the lawsuit, the police officer had sought to recover damages from Mckesson on the theory that he negligently staged the protest in a way that caused the assault.
In 2017, U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, an Obama appointee, ruled that neither Mckesson nor the Black Lives Matter movement could be sued. Jackson threw out the negligence claim, finding it was barred by the First Amendment.
The policeman, identified pseudonymously as John Doe, appealed, and in 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit revived the lawsuit as to Mckesson but dismissed the claim against Black Lives Matter, finding it wasn’t a legal entity capable of being sued.
“We perceive no Constitutional issue with Mckesson being held liable for injuries caused by a combination of his own … conduct and the violent actions of another that were foreseeable as a result of that … conduct,” Judge E. Grady Jolly, a Reagan appointee, wrote for the circuit court.
Although Louisiana law generally imposes no “duty to protect others from the criminal activities of third persons,” the circuit court found that a jury could plausibly find that Mckesson breached his “duty not to negligently precipitate the crime of a third party” because “a violent confrontation with a police officer was a foreseeable effect of negligently directing a protest” onto the highway.
Mckesson argued in a petition filed with the Supreme Court that his First Amendment-protected rights of freedom of speech and assembly trumped any claim against him for leading the demonstration.
The Supreme Court noted that “Mckesson contends that his role in leading the protest onto the highway, even if negligent and punishable as a misdemeanor, cannot make him personally liable for the violent act of an individual whose only association with him was attendance at the protest.”
The high court questioned whether Louisiana law, which the 5th Circuit noted does not impose a duty to protect others from the criminal activities of third persons, allows the recovery of damages for negligently directing a protest. The circuit court’s interpretation of state law was “too uncertain a premise on which to address the [constitutional] question presented,” the justices held.
“[T]he Fifth Circuit should not have ventured into so uncertain an area of tort law—one laden with value judgments and fraught with implications for First Amendment rights—without first seeking guidance on potentially controlling Louisiana law from the Louisiana Supreme Court.”
Mckesson hailed the ruling that allows him to return to terrorizing police officers for doing their jobs.
“I’ve been in this legal battle since Nov 2016 and the Supreme Court vacated the 5th Circuit decision against me that said that individual organizers can be civilly liable for injuries/damages. This is [a] win for every organizer and activist. Let’s keep fighting,” he wrote on Twitter after the decision was made public.
This, of course, is the same Supreme Court that allegedly has a conservative supermajority.
In this era of a growing lack of respect for the rule of law, property rights, and economic freedom, bursting with militants like DeRay Mckesson who want to burn it all down, the highest court in the land couldn’t even be bothered to conduct a one-hour public hearing about holding leftists accountable for their public temper tantrums that lead to bodily harm.
Not even when an assailant tries to murder a cop to foment civil unrest.
Think about that.
This article first appeared at frontpagemag.com.