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Protesters Cleared From DC Park See Most Claims Tossed

Though claims against two police departments are allowed to proceed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2021 12:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge has dismissed a majority of the claims filed by activists and civil liberties groups who accused the Trump administration of violating the civil rights of protesters who were forcefully removed by police using chemical agents from a park near the White House before then-President Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo. US District Judge Dabney Friedrich said Monday the claims in the suit, which alleged that Trump and then-Attorney General William Barr had conspired to violate the rights of protesters last June, were speculative and it was premature for the court to conclude whether the actions of law enforcement officers were justified, the AP reports. Friedrich dismissed the claims against Barr and other federal officials, including the acting US Park Police chief, Gregory Monahan, finding there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove there was any agreement or plan to violate the rights of the protesters. The judge also said the law gives them immunity in civil litigation.

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In a 51-page decision, the judge did allow the claims against the Metropolitan Police Department and the Arlington Police Department—their officers were involved in clearing the park—to proceed. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters. In a statement, Arthur Ago, the director of the criminal justice project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the ruling set an “extremely dangerous precedent” and that former officials like Barr were “getting off scot-free.” “We will always stand up for the rights of those peacefully demonstrating for racial justice, and this ruling sends the wrong message for police accountability efforts at a time when it is needed the most,” Ago said.

(Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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