UPDATE (Sept. 19, 2018): Tommia Dean appeared on the morning talk show “The View” on Sept. 19, 2018 to discuss her experiences following the controversial protest and leading into her lawsuit against Kennesaw State University.
“It’s easy to take the path of least resistance, but it takes guts to stand alone and walk the path of real resistance!” one viewer said about her appearance. “There’s some of us who would love to cheer for you!”
Four of the five Kennesaw State University cheerleaders who knelt to protest police brutality and racial inequality during the national anthem last college football season decided against returning to the squad. And one, Tommia Dean, has filed a lawsuit against the school.
The university announced that the cheerleading squad would be removed from the field prior to kickoff following the first round of protests, but the decision was ultimately reversed.
But that didn’t stop Dean from accusing two elected officials, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, of conspiring to keep the cheerleaders off of the field in order to stop the protests.
“Ehrhart and Warren used their power and influence to create a threatening atmosphere for any groups daring to exercise the privileges and immunities guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” it read, via the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The University System of Georgia had previously ruled that the decision by Kennesaw State officials to outlaw protests violated free speech laws protected by the Constitution.
“By prohibiting the cheerleaders, including Plaintiff Dean, from taking the field and kneeling during the national anthem, Defendant Olens, Whitlock and Griffin in conspiracy under the pretext of improving the fan experience and acting under color of state law, violated Plaintiff Dean’s clearly established constitutional rights of which a reasonable person and government official would have known,” the complaint continued
Ehrhart’s attorney maintains that the attempt to stop the protests had nothing to do with racial bias against the cheerleaders.