Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson is filing a defamation lawsuit against Fox News host Jeanine Pirro after she claimed he had directed violence against a Baton Rouge police officer in 2016.
McKesson had attended a protest against the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a Black man, on July 5, 2016, where he and several others were arrested. The charges against him were dropped, and what’s more, he and 185 other protesters settled with the Baton Rouge police for $136,000.
In a different lawsuit, though, an unnamed police officer said that he was hit in the face with a rock thrown by protesters. He tried to sue both McKesson and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.
In September, a judge ruled that the cop couldn’t sue a movement and that the officer had not sufficiently proved that McKesson incited violence.
But Pirro wasn’t going to let that slide.
“In this particular case, Deray McKesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, was directing the violence,” Pirro said on Fox and Friends at the time, adding, “You’ve got a police officer who was injured, 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.”
“I was found not guilty & I didn’t direct any violence. In fact, I was protesting the violence of the police. Stop lying,” McKesson tweeted at Pirro.
Now, McKesson is suing Pirro for damages and claims that her words have created a threat to his safety.
“Pirro made these false statements of fact on the highest viewed morning cable show in the country, ‘Fox & Friends,’ which reaches over 1.7 million viewers,” Mckesson’s suit reads.
“These statements of fact are false, and were either known to be false by Defendant Pirro or were made with reckless disregard for whether they were true.”
In response to McKesson’s lawsuit, a Fox News spokesperson provided theGrio with the following statement: “We informed Mr. McKesson‘s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously.”