A Dallas police sergeant has filed a federal lawsuit against Black Lives Matter and others for inciting race riots and anti-cop violence.
It’s about time.
A Dallas police sergeant has filed a federal lawsuit against Black Lives Matter leaders and others, blaming the movement for race riots and violence against police officers.
Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, president of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation and a 17-year law enforcement veteran, filed the amended complaint in federal court Friday. Conservative news site Breitbart published the lawsuit in an article that evening.
The listed defendants include not only those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement but public figures such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrahkan, George Soros, the New Black Panthers Party and even President Barack Obama and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
According to the suit, the defendants “have repeatedly incited their supporters and others to engage in threats of and attacks to cause serious bodily injury or death upon police officers and other law enforcement persons of all races and ethnicities.”
The suit accuses the defendants of inciting supporters and others “to engage in threats and attacks” against law enforcement officers around the country, including the July 7 murders of five Dallas officers by Micah Johnson after a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Pennie is being represented by Larry Klayman of lobbying organization FreedomWatch.
“Sergeant Pennie and I feel duty-bound to put ourselves forward to seek an end to the incitement of violence against law enforcement which has already resulted in the death of five police officers in Dallas and the wounding of seven more, just in Texas alone,” Breitbart quoted Klayman as saying in a release.
The 66-page complaint seeks damages of more than $500 million.
Sergeant Pennie’s bold stroke is breathtaking in its scope. But will a judge allow it to go forward?
I guess it will depend on how the courts define “incitement.” For purposes of criminal law, the courts utilize the “Brandenburg test” where “(1) the advocacy is ‘directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,’ and (2) the advocacy is also ‘likely to incite or produce such action.'” In other words, the state must be able to prove intent to incite violence for criminal activity to have occurred.
This would appear to be very hard to do in tort law – especially when it comes to defendants like George Soros and Barack Obama. As inflammatory as the rhetoric used by Black Lives Matter was, the plaintiff will have to show a clear, unambiguous link from the rhetoric to the race riots and violence against police officers. If that is going to be the test, then Soros, Obama, and Hillary Clinton are probably all off the hook.
But beyond the legal questions, this broadside delivered against the racialists is of significant symbolic importance. It points fingers and names names and forces people to consider uncomfortable questions about the intent of black activists and their enablers in government and politics.
Most of us would agree that it’s time for the courts to take a stand. Whether a federal judge agrees with that notion is an open question.