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GOP Rep Sued For Falsely Claiming Man Was Chiefs’ Parade Shooter, ‘Illegal Alien’

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

A Kansas man is suing Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) for damages after the Republican congressman falsely claimed he was an “illegal alien” who carried out the mass shooting at the Kansas City parade in February.

Denton Loudermill, of Olathe, Kansas, is neither an undocumented immigrant nor one of the shooters, who were later identified as two teenagers. Loudermill was just a Chiefs fan attending the Feb. 14 Super Bowl victory parade for the same reason as thousands of others—to celebrate.

But in the aftermath of the deadly shooting, which killed a beloved local DJ and injured several more, photos of him handcuffed by responding police circulated around social media. One of those photos was taken up and shared by Burchett, who added a pointed caption.

“One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal Alien,” Burchett posted on X on Feb. 15, a day after the shooting. The legal complaint notes that it had garnered 7.2 million views over the next three days, and had been reposted 21,600 times.

Loudermill is suing Burchett for false light invasion of privacy, arguing that Burchett’s publication of untrue statements about him resulted in damages in excess of $75,000. The lawsuit mentions “mental distress, sleeplessness, anxiety, and agitation” in addition to “emotional suffering” as examples of the damages Burchett caused.

GoFundMe for Kansas City Shooting Suspect Taken Down

A false light invasion of privacy case is different from a defamation suit in that it covers false information distributed to the mass public, rather than to just one person.

“Defendant knew or should have known that his inflammatory post on social media would be seen and read nationwide,” Loudermill’s lawyers argued in the complaint.

The false statements that Loudermill was both the shooter and an undocumented immigrant “were circulated widely among Defendant’s followers and Defendant’s false assertions about Plaintiff were reposted and widely circulated to more than one million people around the world,” they wrote.

The lawsuit clarifies that Loudermill was never detained as a suspect by Kansas City police. Officers stopped him as he was leaving the parade and told him he was moving too slowly, at which point the police officer handcuffed him and sat him on a curb. During the 10 minutes in which Loudermill was seated there, others in the area took pictures of him, which were quickly posted and spread over social media.

It’s not clear how Burchett came to the false conclusion that Loudermill was both the shooter and an undocumented immigrant. He retracted his statement on social media on Feb. 18, three days after it was posted—but by then, millions of people had seen it.

Representatives for Burchett’s office declined to comment.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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