Virginia State Trooper’s Dubious Defamation Claim Dismissed

Andrew Meyer

What do you do if you filed a highly questionable defamation case against Virginia Cop Block founder Nathan Cox?

If you’re Virginia state trooper Melanie McKenney, you don’t show up for court. That’s what happened on Monday, as McKenney’s defamation claim against Cox was dismissed when she failed to appear in Court.

McKenney’s aborted lawsuit against Cox, which claimed $5,000 in damages for “defamation,” never even had an actual complaint attached.

According to Cox:

“The suit just says ‘defamation’ with no addendum attached to it with any actual allegations. My only belief is that the title of my cell phone video that I uploaded on Youtube is ‘Virginia State Trooper McKenney is CRAZY – Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Stop.”

In addition to calling McKenney crazy in his YouTube video title, Cox also wrote in his official complaint with the Virginia State Police that:

“It is my belief that Trooper McKenney needs to have mental and psychological evaluations.”

Based on McKenney’s interaction with Cox during the traffic stop, and her stating she thought Cox’s phone could be a gun, Cox’s calling McKenney literally crazy makes sense – unless you think that McKenney never truly felt threatened and lied when she said Cox’s phone could be a gun.

Cox intends to file a counter suit because of McKenney’s “frivolous lawsuit,” and hopes his attorneys will also include a civil right “Deprivation of Rights claim.” Cox’s video upload and commentary were constitutionally protect free speech and trying to infringe that speech can be costly, as one Missouri police chief recently learned.

“Cops nationwide need RE-TRAINING on the bill of right, and individual rights,” Cox stated in an email interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

“They need to stop violating people’s rights and start protecting people’s rights. The courts have affirmed many times now over the last five years that citizens have a right under the First Amendment to film public officials.”

Cox was represented by Stephen A. Lewis and Danielle Lewis on this matter.

For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter @theandrewmeyer.


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