A federal judge on Monday dismissed most of the lawsuits filed by civil liberties groups that accused the government of former President Donald Trump of violating the rights of a group of protesters in June of last year in a peaceful racial protest in front of the House. White. The plaintiffs claimed that the Administration ordered police officers and National Guard reservist soldiers to use unnecessary force to allow a photo shoot of Trump holding a Bible outside the historic Saint John’s Church at the height of the Racial protest in Washington.
In a 51-page ruling, Judge Dabney Friedrich argued that authorities such as then-Attorney General William Barr or Acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan conspired to violate protesters’ civil rights they were “just too speculative.” The complaints from the Black Lives Matter movement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and various activists “do not show enough events, conversations or documents that indicate an agreement between the accused to violate the rights [de los demandantes] based in [su] membership of a protected class, ”wrote Friedrich.
That June 1, just before the curfew in Washington, Trump warned in a message to the nation that he would deploy the Army to quell protests against racism after the death of George Floyd. As he spoke, police officers and members of the National Guard dispersed a peaceful demonstration outside the White House with tear gas and clubs. The action upset the participants. Minutes later, the president appeared walking from his residence to the church of Saint John, where he posed with a Bible without making any statements.
The Justice Department had urged that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that US authorities are immune from civil lawsuits for police actions taken to protect a president. The judge upheld this argument to dismiss most of the lawsuits, ensuring that the law grants immunity to officials in civil litigation.
“The ruling essentially gives the federal government the green light to use violence, including deadly force, against protesters, as long as federal employees claim to be protecting national security,” Scott Michelman, ACLU Washington’s chief legal officer, said in a statement. . Arthur Ago, director of the criminal justice project for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, another of the plaintiffs, argued that the ruling set an “extremely dangerous precedent” and that former officials like Barr were “getting away with it.”
Judge Friedrich allowed lawsuits to proceed challenging protesters’ continued restrictions on access to Lafayette Square, the plaza across from the White House where the June 2 episode occurred, and against local police departments in Washington and Arlington County, Virginia.
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