First Justice Lab Settlement Announced Days After Memphis Officers Charged for Killing Tyre Nichols
SHREVEPORT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana today announced a settlement on behalf of Mr. Brandon Kennedy, who was wrongfully attacked, arrested, and searched by Shreveport police after one of the officers overheard Mr. Kennedy speaking to another person about the Black Lives Matter movement and his own negative experiences with the Shreveport Police Department.
As alleged in his complaint, without warning or provocation, Kennedy, who had been shopping at a convenience store, was brutalized and detained against his will by Shreveport police in retaliation for his constitutionally protected speech. An officer grabbed him by the neck, slammed him to the ground, and then placed his knee on Mr. Kennedy’s back, mere months after George Floyd was murdered in the same fashion. Although he was compliant, the officer then grabbed Mr. Kennedy’s face with both hands and smashed it into the concrete pavement. Knowing they had no legal reason to arrest him, the officers brought Mr. Kennedy to a mental health unit where he was held against his will overnight.
“Our client Brandon Kennedy endured a terrifying and dehumanizing ordeal, and we’re glad he’s receiving monetary compensation,” said Nora Ahmed, ACLU of Louisiana legal director. “Nonetheless, this is unfortunately the kind of racial profiling Black and Brown people continue to face each and every day, as they are targeted and jailed for merely existing in public spaces. And Mr. Kennedy’s case is particularly appalling because he was assaulted for speaking out against these very injustices. We hope this settlement sends a message that when local law enforcement agencies violate the rights of the people they’re sworn to serve — we will hold them accountable.”
In 2022, police officers across the United States killed at least 1,176 people — the highest on record. But these alarming statistics don’t include cases like Mr. Kennedy’s, where victims survive police violence, become traumatized, and are tortured by the event for the rest of their lives.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Black Lives Matter movement and the third anniversary of the uprising following the murder of George Floyd, there is still a long way to go in the march toward justice for all. Congress must act and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and address the legal fiction of qualified immunity.
Kennedy v. Jackson et al. was the 29th lawsuit filed as part of the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab campaign. The initiative has filed nearly 50 lawsuits against Louisiana law enforcement since launching in 2020. For more information, visit aclujusticelab.org.