ACLU of Louisiana Wins Victory in Dismissal of Defamation Case Against New Orleans Photographer
NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana prevailed in court on Friday when a federal judge dismissed a defamation case against a New Orleans photographer who was sued by a former school principal, Nicholas Dean.
The photographer, Abdul Aziz, captured photos of Dean at a public protest of the removal of Confederate monuments wearing Nazi-associated symbols. Dean was later terminated from his position at the Crescent Leadership Academy. He then sued NOLA.com/ The Times Picayune and Aziz for defamation, alleging that Aziz’s coverage of the event caused him harm.
“Journalists have a constitutional right to report and comment on issues of public concern,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “No one should be hauled into court for reporting on public events and we’re relieved that this meritless lawsuit has been dismissed.”
In dismissing the case, the judge ruled that Dean “has not and cannot” demonstrate facts that would allow the court to have jurisdiction in the case.
“The freedom of the press is a foundational principle of our democracy, and as a journalist I have a responsibility to report on issues that affect my community,” said Aziz. “I never imagined that reporting on a white nationalist protest would land me in court, and I’m grateful the ACLU of Louisiana intervened on my behalf. Now more than ever, journalists must have the right to report on matters of public concern without fear of reprisal or retaliation.”
The order dismissing the case is at: https://www.laaclu.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/order_dean_easterling.pdf
The original motion to dismiss it at: https://www.laaclu.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/dean_v_easterling_motion_to_dismiss.pdf
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.