U.S. Supreme Court hands narrow win to Black Lives Matter activist over protest incident

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson in his ongoing effort to avoid a lawsuit filed by a police officer injured during a 2016 protest in Louisiana triggered by the police killing of a Black man.

The justices threw out a lower court ruling that had allowed the lawsuit to proceed and said that more analysis was needed on whether Louisiana state law allows for such a claim.

McKesson has argued that the rights of freedom of speech and assembly under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment should shield him from the lawsuit that accused him of negligence for leading the protest in Baton Rouge, but the court did not resolve that issue.

The officer sustained serious injuries after being struck in the face by a rock or piece of concrete thrown by an unknown person, not by McKesson.

Litigation will now continue in lower courts.

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas dissented and newly appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate, the ruling said.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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