A black Dallas police sergeant has filed a federal class action lawsuit against Black Lives Matter and more than a dozen others — including President Obama.
Sergeant Demetrick Pennie is president of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, an organization which aims to assist the families of police officers who have been killed or injured.
He filed the lawsuit this month, in response to the shootings this past July in Dallas that killed five officers. The attack took place during a peaceful protest of the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
It seeks between $500 million and $1.5 billion in damages.
“This lawsuit is being brought because the black community’s being bamboozled by its leaders,” Pennie said. “The leaders are facilitating this.”
The leaders of BLM condemned the sniper attack as counter to their organization’s officially stated goals and the killer, Micah Johnson, had no specific ties to their movement.
Pennie still insists Black Lives Matter has consistently “incited” violence and hatred. Others listed on Pennie’s lawsuit include Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Sharpton.
“The message is wrong, the message that is being sent is wrong,” Penne said. “The fact is these leaders, the leaders of the organizations, they need to be responsible, we [the police are] trying to take care of people.”
Penne concedes the Dallas Police Department has faced “challenges” in terms of police misconduct in the past.
Pennie claims those mistakes are “past” issues and that, with the department’s current leadership, there haven’t been any race-related issues.
“As a black police officer, I’ve never seen that kind of racism here in Dallas,” Pennie said.”I don’t engage people like that and none of my friends, none of my white friends have engaged any citizens like that.”
The lawsuit claims Black Lives Matter and others have encouraged illegal violence of blacks, black Muslims, Muslims and others by directing, provoking and inciting people and angry crowds.
“They can say what they want to say about me, it don’t matter,” Pennie said of his detractors, specifically his African-American critics. “I’m from the hood, go talk to my people, go ask them about me.”
The suit goes on to state the BLM movement has led people to ignore, disrespect and assault law enforcement officials, which ultimately resulted in violence and lethal force.
“You want to ask why I took this action? I’m waiting on some other leader across the country to say, ‘You know what? What happened in Dallas was wrong,'” Pennie said.
According to Pennie, the Dallas Police Department is 63 percent white and has seven divisions.
Regarding African-Americans and others who have been victims of police misconduct — “perceived interactions” as Pennie puts it — the police sergeant puts the onus on the individuals, not the officers.
“I’m not going to discredit their interactions with individual law enforcement officers,” Pennie said. “But I’m going to say, ‘Hey, if those things happen, what actions did you take as an individual?’ You got a responsibility to go report it.”
Peenie said he hopes the money will help bolster his efforts to garner support surrounding the Dallas attack.
Pennie’s said his attorney, Larry Klayman, president of the organization Freedom Watch USA, determined the $500 million figure. Freedom Watch USA’s website refers to President Obama and Hillary Clinton as “pro-Arab” and working to promote a “socialist” agenda. Its goal is “not only preserving freedom, but redefine its meaning.”
Sgt. Pennie worked as a police officer for seventeen years. He says the lawsuit is personal.
“I’m not going to put up with officers being targeted across that nation,” Pennie said. “That’s just like if the black community, like they’re being targeted, that’s the same situation, a hate crime.”
In response to the lawsuit, Reverend Al Sharpton provided the following statement to theGrio.com:
This is a baseless and offensive lawsuit. National Action Network’s mission is to non-violently pursue justice and to act like we are in anyway anti-police is false and unacceptable. It should also be noted that many officers are members of National Action Network. We will aggressively defend ourselves against these scurrilous accusations.
Following the mass shooting in Dallas, President Obama did speak out against the killings and addressed Americans and Dallas during a televised memorial for the police officers killed.
But Pennie says the administration’s statements and BLM’s response is not enough.
“I don’t want people to tell my kinfolk or my people, ‘Hey go get out here and protest with Black Lives Matter’ and then they start rioting and somebody start shooting and then my people get shot because they following behind some idiots that don’t know what they doing.”