An Atlanta man who helped launch the 2016 Black Lives Matter protests says he never filed a threatened lawsuit against the Dunwoody Police Department for what he alleged was a retaliatory arrest. He also said he is working on an app that will address police brutality.
“Nothing happened,” said Chris LeDay in a Facebook message this week when asked about the status of his threatened lawsuit. “They tried to sweep it under the rug. I didn’t have the means to pursue the money it would take.”
LeDay was the first to circulate a video of the controversial July 5, 2016 police killing of Alton Sterling in Louisiana. He posted the video, obtained from a friend in Louisiana, on his Facebook page on the day of the killing to draw attention to it. That video, along with a video of the Minnesota police killing of Philando Castile the next day, launched a wave of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, including in Atlanta.
The day after LeDay posted the video, he said at the time, he was detained at his job at Marietta’s Dobbins Air Reserve Base by military police officers, who said he was wanted on a warrant for assault and battery. He turned out to have a two-year-old warrant for failing to appear on traffic-related offenses in Dunwoody. The citations included driving with a suspended license and without proof of insurance or tags, as well as a headlight infraction.
Dunwoody Police officers went to the base at the request of the military police and arrested LeDay. At the time, he said the Dunwoody officers shackled him like a “deranged psycho killer” and that he believed the arrest was retaliation for posting the video.
A Dunwoody Police Department spokesperson at the time said that the department was unaware of LeDay’s connection to the video during the arrest and that he was treated according to normal procedure.
A publicist for LeDay’s lawyer at the time said he might sue DPD for unlawful arrest and transport. LeDay’s situation drew national press attention, including from the news program “Democracy Now!” However, LeDay now says he did not file a lawsuit.
Now the nation is in the midst of another wave of Black Lives Matter protests launched by video of another police killing of another Black man, George Floyd in Minnesota.
“There shouldn’t be any rest until real action is taken,” LeDay said of the new protests. “Real legislation needs to be made to mandate safety.”
He also said he is working on a “life-changing” technology to help, which he declined to describe pending its release. “I’m working on the perfect app now that can help cure a lot of these violent, cowardly police acts,” he said.