Amended Complaint Also Adds a New Plaintiff and Seeks Class Status to Represent Hundreds of Individual Demonstrators

June 9, 2020 11:45 am

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WASHINGTON — After news reports revealed that Federal Bureau of Prisons officers were among the law enforcement agencies who brutally attacked civil rights protestors in Lafayette Square on the evening of June 1, plaintiffs have added the agency’s director, Michael Carvajal, along with an unspecified number of its officers, as defendants in the lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and other senior White House officials for violating the constitutional rights of protesters.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of the District of Columbia, and the law firm of Arnold & Porter also added Lia Poteet, age 28, as a plaintiff in the case.

Poteet was viciously attacked by one of the federal officers. As she stood near the front line facing the line of law enforcement, she heard explosions and people screaming, and was knocked down as officers charged the protesters. She was struck repeatedly with a baton and sustained blows to her stomach and her knee. When she tried to stand up, the same officer resumed hitting her, harder. As another protester helped her up again, two flash-bang grenades exploded at her feet, causing her to gasp and cough.

“I went to Lafayette Square to protest the death of George Floyd and to raise my voice against violence and racist oppression, but the Trump administration ordered the military to attack us for it,” said Lia Poteet, who joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff today. “Federal troops charged at peaceful protesters, directed their force at American citizens exercising their constitutional right, and turned a public park into a combat zone.”

Today’s amended complaint also seeks class status to represent the hundreds of individuals who were affected by the administration’s unlawful use of force against protestors.

“This lawsuit is about more than the injuries to our members and to our fellow plaintiffs,” said April Goggans, core organizer of Black Lives Matter-DC, the lead plaintiff in the case. “It is about the wanton violence inflicted on hundreds of people who gathered at the White House to deliver the urgent message that Black Lives Matter. And it is about the generations of Black people and their allies who have been attacked by government authorities for trying to deliver that message.”

The amended complaint can be found here: https://www.acludc.org/en/cases/black-lives-matter-dc-v-trump

This press release can be found here: https://www.acludc.org/en/news/bureau-prisons-officials-added-defendants…

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