Capitol Officers Hit Trump With Suit: He 'Inflamed' the 'Mob'

James Blassingame, Sidney Hemby say they suffered 'physical and emotional injuries' Jan. 6
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2021 7:42 AM CDT
Capitol Officers Hit Trump With Suit: He 'Inflamed' the 'Mob'
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

On Jan. 6, an "insurrectionist mob" was "inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted" by one person in particular, according to a new lawsuit filed by two Capitol Police officers there. That person, cited in the 40-page complaint filed in federal court in DC, per Al Jazeera: former President Trump. Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby say in their suit that the insurrectionists in the attack on the Capitol were goaded not only by Trump's behavior on that day, but over a period of months "in getting his followers to believe his false allegation that he was about to be forced out of the White House because of massive election fraud." Blassingame and Hemby say they suffered "physical and emotional injuries" as a result of the riot, which left fellow officer Brian Sicknick dead, as well as four others. The suit asks for at least $75,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages for each officer.

Blassingame, a Black officer who's been with the force 17 years, says in the filing that, in addition to the head and back injuries he sustained, he also suffered a "severe emotional toll" after the riot, partly due to racist attacks. He "lost count" as to how many times he was called the n-word, the complaint notes. Hemby, a Capitol Police officer for more than a decade, says he was doused in chemical spray and crushed against doors at the Capitol, causing knee and hand injuries and emotional aftereffects. Politico notes the officers' accounts contradict Trump's recent remarks that the rioters were peaceful, and that they were "hugging and kissing" officers. The mother of another injured officer is especially irked by the ex-president's depiction. "What goes through my mind is really outrage," Terry Fanone, mom of officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and concussion on Jan. 6 and now has PTSD, tells CNN. "It's outrageous. It's so dehumanizing." (Read more Capitol Police stories.)

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