Friday, a Louisiana police officer wounded in the 2016 protests sparked by the killing of Alton Sterling filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter activists DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometti.
According to reports by both MSN and Reuters, the unnamed officer is seeking at least $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. district court in Louisiana, and it alleges members of Black Lives Matter incited the violence and failed to condemn illegal behavior that ultimately led to the deaths of three other officers.
In July of 2016, officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake apprehended Sterling outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store. The officers were reportedly responding to a 911 call about a man making threats with a firearm. Footage shot by a bystander shows Salamoni and Lake tackling Sterling to the ground. A voice off-camera could be heard yelling “he’s got a gun!” during the encounter before the officers opened fire and killed Sterling.
Witness accounts initially varied on if Sterling had a weapon, and tensions ran high in Baton Rogue as Sterling became the latest in series of black men killed during encounters with police officers. During local protests, former U.S. Marine Gavin Long shot six police officers, killing the three aforementioned Baton Rouge officers during his rampage.
Court documents linked Long with the Sovereign Citizen Movement, but no connection with Black Lives Matter was found.
In May, the Department of Justice declined to press federal civil rights charges against Salamoni and Lake for the killing of Sterling.
Mckesson also filed a class action lawsuit against Baton Rouge over the arrests of demonstrators during the Baton Rogue protests. Mckesson’s suit sought no damages but called to recoup money spent on what he deemed unlawful arrests.