A federal judge began hearing arguments Wednesday to determine if a Louisiana cop’s lawsuit against Black Lives Matter can proceed.
The decision that will ultimately decide if the organization can actually be sued at all, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The question arose after an unidentified Louisiana police officer took legal action against the group and one of its leaders, DeRay Mckesson, for injuries he sustained while patrolling Black Lives Matter protests in Baton Rouge after the death of Alton Sterling.
A white police officer shot and killed Sterling, a black man, outside a convenience store in July 2016. The incident sparked nationwide protests from Black Lives Matter and other activists angry about perceived disproportionate police brutality against people of color.
McKesson’s attorney, William Gibbens, argued in court documents Black Lives Matter doesn’t collect dues, have established bylaws or a governing body and is, at best, “a community of interest.”
“However, even as a community of interest, it would be nearly impossible to ascribe a single common purpose or interest to the hundreds of thousands of different people, many with different goals and motives, who have protested, posted online, or acted under the ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner,” Gibbens wrote.
Gibbens wants U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson to dismiss the case.
Donna Grodner, who represents the officer, said in court documents Black Lives Matter is a “”thriving, if not very wealthy, unincorporated association.”
“If Black Lives Matter does not exist, it should not be raising money or collecting millions in donations,” she wrote.
Last year, Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman filed suit against Black Lives Matter and others, including former President Barack Obama, for “inciting violence against police officers.”
A judge’s ruling in that case, issued June 2, found Klayman didn’t provide enough support that Black Lives Matter is an entity capable of being sued, according to the Associated Press.