Judge dismisses complaint by individuals regarding City Hall ‘black list,’ rules ACLU can continue with lawsuit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A judge has dismissed the complaint of four of the people who appear on the Memphis City Hall escort list, who filed a federal lawsuit against the city after the list was released in February.

At the end of June, United States District Judge Jon P. McCalla granted the City of Memphis’ motion to dismiss the complaint of the plaintiffs, Elaine Blanchard, Keedran Franklin, Paul Garner and Bradley Watkins, due to lack of standing. However, McCalla denied the city’s motion to dismiss the complaint of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had joined the lawsuit as an intervening plaintiff.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim the list, dubbed the “black list,” violates a 1978 court order allowing them to express themselves freely.

The lawsuit said MPD also violated the order by recording video of protesters and using a program to track what people post on social media.

Memphis Police have a list of around 80 people who must be escorted by a police officer whenever they show up at City Hall.

Many of them are well-known protesters, and some are former city workers.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland claimed he didn’t know about the list until the media reported it, and he said he asked his Police Director Michael Rallings to review the list.

Rallings has said there may be some names on the list in error.

Read the lawsuit