April 30, 2021
Working in tandem with the students of the Human and Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson. McKesson was sued by a Baton Rouge police officer for injuries the officer sustained while overseeing protests against police brutality in the aftermath of Alton Sterling’s death at the hands of two Baton Rouge police officers. The unnamed officer sought to impose liability on McKesson for alleged “foreseeable negligence.”
The brief demonstrated the ways in which the Fifth Circuit’s decision promoted the restriction of free speech and imposed a particularly heavy cost on the rights of Black protestors. The brief further emphasized the larger history of the criminalizing and otherwise limiting Black speech that challenges systems of power, especially when it is directed at law enforcement. Further information about the brief can be found here, and the brief is available here.