DCist, “Lawsuit Over ‘Unconstitutional’ Arrests On Inauguration Day Can Go Forward, Judge Rules”

A lawsuit that accuses D.C. police of excessive force and unconstitutional arrests on Inauguration Day can move forward, a federal judge ruled on Friday. However, she granted the government’s motion to dismiss some of the claims.

“I’m pleased the judge is allowing our case to proceed,” said Elizabeth Lagesse, an Inauguration Day protester who is one of the case’s plaintiffs, in a press release. “I think about what happened that day every time I consider participating in a protest. The abusive actions of the police that day conflict with the basic principles of a free society, and this case is about making sure that dissent is respected and protected in the future.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. is suing the city of D.C., the Metropolitan Police Department, Police Chief Peter Newsham, and other officers on behalf of six plaintiffs, including a legal observer, a photojournalist, and a 10-year-old boy. They are among the hundreds of people who were caught up in the law enforcement response to an unpermitted protest on Inauguration Day 2017, when a large crowd of demonstrators largely dressed in black marched from Logan Circle to Franklin Square. Amid window smashing, fires, and other property damage, police used flash bang grenades and pepper spray. They surrounded more than 200 people—including journalists and legal observers—and conducted a mass arrest.

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