Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson is suing over defamatory claims made by Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro, who accused him of inciting violence against a police officer back in 2016.
The complaint, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, Dec. 12, stems from Pirro’s comments about a protest sparked by the police shooting of Louisiana man Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, the New York Daily News reported. Mckesson attended a protest over the shooting and was arrested. However, the charges levied against him were later dismissed.
Months later, an anonymous officer filed a lawsuit claiming he was badly injured when a thrown rock or piece of concrete hit him in the face as he was responding to the protests. Naming him as a defendant in the suit, the unnamed officer accused McKesson of inciting violence on behalf of BLM and argued that the prominent activist was responsible for his injuries.
He also claimed Mckesson was charge of leading the demonstration and should have known it had the potential to turn violent.
A judge ultimately tossed the case in September, ruling that “all claims against ‘Black Lives Matter’ must be dismissed because social movements lack the capacity to be sued.” The judge ruled in McKesson’s favor as well, saying he was simply exercising his right to protest and couldn’t be held responsible for the actions of other demonstrators.
None of this seemed to matter to Pirro, however.
“In this particular case, Deray Mckesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence,” the news host said on “Fox and Friends” after the judge’s ruling.
“You’ve got a police officer who was injured,” she continued. “He was injured at the direction of DeRay Mckesson. DeRay Mckesson walks away with a hundred thousand dollars, for an organization that is amorphous. We got a problem in this country.”
Since Pirro’s remarks, the 32-year-old says his personal safety has been compromised. His complaint seeks damages, which will be determined at trial, according to the newspaper.
“I was found not guilty & I didn’t direct any violence,” Mckesson wrote in a tweet directed a Pirro. “In fact, I was protesting the violence of the police. Stop lying.”
The Fox News Network said it plans to fight the suit and argued that Pirro’s commentary was protected under the First Amendment.