DeRay McKesson, a prominent activist who recently ran for mayor of Baltimore, has joined with two other protesters to sue the Baton Rouge Police Department. They allege that their arrests in the wake of Alton Sterling's death were unlawful and that police used excessive force.
McKesson was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to protest the murder of Sterling, a father of five who was shot by police on July 5. There are estimates that nearly 200 people were arrested during the protests, and witnesses of McKesson's July 9 arrest said it was physically violent.
As the lawsuit filed is a class-action suit, McKesson is suing on behalf of everyone who was arrested. His attorney, Roy J. Rodney Jr., said he is alleging that since the arrests of the protesters were illegal, the jurisdiction must return their bond money and expunge any arrest records. "Many of these protesters were young people," Rodney said. "They don't have money to pay these fees. They should not have the stigma of an unlawful arrest to follow them in the digital age." McKesson is not seeking damages.
In July, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana also filed a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department for violating the First Amendment rights of demonstrators. They, too, had accusations of abuse and excessive force by the police.