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Black Lives Matter Activist Wins Nominal Victory in Defamation Suit Against Shelby County Comissioner

A Tennessee judge on Monday ruled in favor of a Black Lives Matter activist who sued a local county commissioner for defamation and slander, FOX 13 Memphis reported.

Pamela Moses, the founder of Black Lives Matter Memphis, came out on top in her legal battle against former Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland. The complaint, filed in December 2017, stemmed from incendiary remarks Roland made during a June 2017 county commission meeting.

Pamela Moses

BLM activist Pamela Moses was awarded a $500 judgment in her lawsuit against former commissioner Terry Roland. (FOX 13 / video screenshot)

“Homeland security needed to watch that lady Pamela Moses,” the commissioner declared after labeling Pamela and other BLM activists as “terrorists.”

“It was disrespectful to me, to other Black women, and it’s disrespectful to the office he held,” Moses at the time.

Despite activists’ demands for an apology, Roland stood firm and refused to walk back his statement, saying at another June 2017 meeting : “I did say that about Ms. Moses and I stand by it. Moses has threatened judges and she has threatened everybody, but I can tell you this dog ain’t gon’ run, and I stand by everything I said the other day. Other than that I have nothing else to say.”

Now it seems Moses is the one who has gotten the last word.

On Monday, a judge awarded the activist $500 in court costs and fees in her case against Roland, the news station reported. In a statement, Moses, who reportedly had  been seeking $1 million, expressed satisfaction with the decision.

“It’s not a victory for P. Moses, it’s a victory for Memphis and Shelby County because a cultural shift has occurred that says it’s OK to stand up to white supremacy,” she said. “It’s OK to stand up to people who are wrong.”

“Hopefully, this case should restore order and civility to Shelby County meetings as well as illustrate [that] activists are not terrorists, but are fundamentally important to ensuring transparency, accountability, equal protection and dignity for all citizens,” Moses added.

Roland has yet to comment on the ruling, and referred all inquiries to the county attorney’s office.

This isn’t the commissioner’s first brush with controversy. Hunter Demster, a fellow activist who was present for the commission meeting when he says Roland singled out Moses, told  The Commercial Appeal he felt Roland’s remarks were racially motivated and pointed to “dog whistle” memes posted on the former commissioner’s Facebook page.

Demster said Roland had also appeared on the alt-right radio show “The Political Cesspool,” sponsored by the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group.

Moses is no stranger to trouble herself. In 2016, the activist was arrested and charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and resisting official detention, all of which were dropped the following year. Police said Moses violated an order requiring her to have an escort whenever she was inside a county courthouse, which came after she pleaded guilty to stalking a general sessions court judge in 2015.

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