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Missouri AG will defend senators sued for defamation over posts about Chiefs parade shooting

Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks at a press conference in the Missouri House Lounge, flanked by House Speaker Dean Plocher, left, and state Rep. Justin Sparks.
Tim Bommel
Missouri House Communications
Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks at a press conference in the Missouri House Lounge, flanked by House Speaker Dean Plocher, left, and state Rep. Justin Sparks.

Republican state senators facing a federal defamation lawsuit over social media posts incorrectly identifying a Kansas man as the shooter at the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade will be represented by the Missouri attorney general’s office.

Jeremiah Morgan, a deputy attorney general, is listed in court documents as the attorney for state Sen. Rick Brattin, who along with two other members of the Missouri Freedom Caucus — Sens. Denny Hoskins and Nick Schroer — were sued last month over posts on social media misidentifying Denton Loudermill of Olathe, Kansas, as an undocumented immigrant and the shooter at the Chief’s parade.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Andrew Bailey confirmed all three senators are being represented by the state.

The attorney general’s role in the lawsuits was first reported Thursday evening by Missouri Scout.

The defamation lawsuits should be dismissed, the attorney general’s office contends in a motion filed Thursday, because the senators were acting in their official capacity when they made their posts on social media. Therefore, they are protected by “legislative immunity.” The posts falsely claiming Loudermill was an undocumented immigrant were directed at the president, the attorney general’s office argues, and referred to border security.

State legislators “should not be inhibited by judicial interference or distorted by the fear of personal liability when they publicly speak on issues of national importance,” the motion to dismiss states.

In an affidavit, Brattin attests that he made the social media posts “while I was engaged in my regular duties as a Missouri State Senator.”

Loudermill was detained briefly when violence broke out during the parade because he was too slow to leave the area.

The first social media account to accuse Loudermill of being the shooter and in the country illegally was on an account on X, formally known as Twitter, with the name Deep Truth Intel. That post, with a seated photo of Loudermill in handcuffs, incorrectly identified him with a name associated with misinformation posted after other shootings, including an October mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, that left 18 dead.

Soon after that initial social media post, the Missouri Freedom Caucus, Hoskins, Brattin and Schroer posted their own versions.

“These are 3 people arrested at the parade…at least one of those arrested is an illegal immigrant. CLOSE OUR BORDERS!” the Missouri Freedom Caucus posted on X.

The post has since been deleted. The Missouri Freedom Caucus also sought to retract its mistake, linking to a KMBC post about Loudermill’s effort to clear his name.

“Denton is an Olathe native, a father of three & a proud @Chiefs fan,” the post states. “He’s not a mass shooter. Images of him being detained for being intoxicated & not moving away from the crime scene at the Chiefs rally have spread online. He just wants to clear his name.”

Hoskins’ version on X shared a screenshot of the Deep Truth Intel post and blamed President Joe Biden and political leaders of Kansas City for making the shooting possible.

“Fact – President Biden’s open border policies & cities who promote themselves as Sanctuary Cities like #Kansas City invite illegal violent immigrants into the U.S.,” Hoskins posted.

That post has been deleted, but in a Feb. 14 post without a photo, Hoskins wrote that “information I’ve seen” states “at least one of the alleged shooters is an illegal immigrant and all 3 arrested are repeat violent offenders.”

Hoskins hedged it with “IF THIS IS ACCURATE” and repetition of conservative rhetoric to stop immigration and restrain cities that help immigrants, blaming crime on “catch and release policies of liberal cities.”

Brattin’s first post linking Loudermill to the shooting, since deleted, demanded “#POTUS CLOSE THE BORDER” and incorporated the deleted Deep Truth Intel post.

Schroer was the least certain post about the immigration and arrest status of Loudermill among the three now being sued.

Schroer’s post included a link to one from Burchett stating, over Loudermill’s photo, that “One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal Alien.”

“Can we get any confirmation or denial of this from local officials or law enforcement?” Schroer wrote on X. “I’ve been sent videos or stills showing at least 6 different people arrested from yesterday but officially told only 3 still in custody. The people deserve answers.”

The Missouri Independent is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering state government, politics and policy. It is staffed by veteran Missouri reporters and is dedicated to its mission of relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Jefferson City are made and their impact on individuals across the Show-Me State.
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