BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay McKesson is part of a class action lawsuit against the City of Baton Rouge over his arrest during a protest in July.
Mayor-President Kip Holden, BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie Jr, EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, and Louisiana State Police Superintended Col. Mike Edmonson are also being sued by McKesson, Kira Marrero and Gloria La Riva. It also proposes representation of all of the individuals who were arrested from July 6 through July 11 for the charge of obstruction of a highway.
McKesson was in Baton Rouge last month to protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge Police. He was one of more than 100 people arrested during the protests on Saturday, July 9 outside of the Baton Rouge Police Department Headquarters.
"Throughout the protests, the Defendants responded in a militarized and aggressive manner," states the lawsuit. "Police advanced against protestors dressed in military gear, with gas masks, shin guards, face shields, brandishing assault weapons alongside heavy military vehicles...threatened non-violent protestors by pointing their weapons directly at them."
The suit also claims that the individuals should not have been detained for the misdemeanor offense with which they were charged, rather, they should have been issued a ticket or some other less harsh form of enforcement. Instead, the suit claims that protestors were met with force.
"Defendants used excessive force in attacking, battering, beating, and assaulting plaintiffs and class members without provocation or the need for defense," according to the suit.
District Attorney Hillar Moore announced on July 15 that his office would be dropping the charges against 100 out of the 185 people arrested during the weekend of protests including McKesson and at least three journalists.
The suit seeks damages for "defendants' unlawful mass arrests and prosecutions under constitutionally dubious statues, regulations, policies and practices by the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police."
"Class members have incurred substantial attorneys' fees and will incur further attorneys' fees to clear their criminal arrest record, as a result of the defendants' conduct," notes the lawsuit. "The charges were subsequently dismissed by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney."