The Black Lives Matter protesters are suing President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and federal officials who were included in the photo op last week after they were tear-gassed and in order to give way to the administration.
Violation of the First and Fourth Amendment
The complaints reads that the case is about the president and the attorney general of the United States who ordered the police force to use violence against the peaceful protesters who were speaking out against racism and police brutality.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter DC, together with some of the individual protesters. It was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia, in conjunction with the Urban Affairs, the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Arnold & Porter LLP.
Aside from President Trump and Attorney General Barr, the complaint includes Army General James McConville, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the heads of the U.S Park Police, Secret Service, and D.C. National Guard, as well as other officials who were in on the action.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia, and it seeks a court order declaring that the assault against the protesters violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights and it also affirms that the officials conspired to deny the people their rights.
The suit also demands a court order that will prevent the officials from doing the action again, and it also includes restitution for injuries and trauma that were sustained by the protesters from the physical blows and chemical blows.
The head organizer of Black Lives Matter DC, April Goggans, said in a statement that what happened to the members of the movement on June 1 in Washington D.C was an affront to their rights.
Goggans added that the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police has sparked the anger, pain, and sadness in the black community and racism is something that they have suffered for years. She also said that they refused to be silenced by rubber bullets and tear gas and this is their time to be heard.
The President of the United States addressed the nation in the Rose Garden on June 1, and 10 minutes before his address, law enforcement officials and the National Guard that were outside the white house shot the peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, flash-bang shells and tear gas.
The protesters were gathered in Lafayette Square, and the police officials and the National Guard were instructed to clear the way for President Trump and his administration so that they can stage a photo-op as he held a Bible and posed in front of St. John's Episcopal Church.
The ACLU posted on Twitter that the use of chemical weapons on peaceful protesters was unjustified and it raises concerns for the human rights of Americans.
The Trump administration denied that they ordered the guards and the officers to use tear gas to clear the way for them, and no law enforcement agency has admitted that they were instructed to do so.
The legal director of the ACLU's Washington office, Scott Michelman, weighed in on the gravity of the incident. He said that it was an attack and it was an assault on their constitutional rights. The government has two months to respond to the lawsuit.