Trump Sued Over Use of Force on DC Protesters

Civil rights groups file federal lawsuit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2020 5:23 AM CDT
Civil Rights Groups Sue Trump Over Protest Clearance
Police clear the area around Lafayette Park and the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Civil rights groups including the ACLU and Black Lives Matter are taking the Trump administration to court over the forcible clearance of protesters ahead of the president's church photo-op across from the White House Monday. In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, the groups say the use of methods including horses, pepper spray, and rubber bullets to disperse what had been a peaceful protest violated the protesters' rights of free speech and assembly, the Washington Post reports. The widely criticized clearance of the Lafayette Park area happened 30 minutes before Washington, DC's 7pm curfew went into effect. The lawsuit also names Attorney General William Barr, who reportedly ordered the clearance.

"The president’s shameless, unconstitutional, unprovoked, and frankly criminal attack on protesters because he disagreed with their views shakes the foundation of our nation’s constitutional order," said Scott Michaelmas, ACLU's DC legal director, per the Guardian. "And when the nation’s top law enforcement officer becomes complicit in the tactics of an autocrat, it chills protected speech for all of us." The lawsuit seeks damages for those injured in the "unprovoked charge into a crowd of demonstrators" and an order banning Barr and other officials from "repeating the unlawful activities," NPR reports. The ACLU says it plans to file many similar lawsuits across the US in response to police violence against protesters. (Read more President Trump stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.