The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and its Center for Protest Law & Litigation filed a federal lawsuit against officers with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) for violating the constitutional rights of Ross LaFontaine. Mr. LaFontaine, a Navy veteran who was present at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Plaza in Washington, D.C., to show solidarity and alliance with the BLM movement as a member of Vets for BLM, was falsely arrested during a peaceful demonstration on December 12, 2020.
Just before nightfall on December 12, 2020, the D.C. MPD undertook a massive and forceful assault with dozens of officers into those peaceably assembled at BLM Plaza, using the false arrest of Mr. LaFontaine as a thin excuse to storm the space while creating widespread disarray and disruption of otherwise peaceful First Amendment activities. This police attack and disruption of peaceful BLM activists in the Plaza occurred at the very time that, in contrast, the MPD was allowing the Proud Boys to maraud through the District in what was a precursor event and test of police response prior to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The incident also revealed that the U.S. Secret Service had deployed an undercover plainclothes officer into those peacefully assembled at BLM Plaza to conduct “counter-surveillance” on BLM activists.
As the events unfolded, the MPD provoked violent chaos to indiscriminately grab peaceful protestors and falsely arrest them. The lawsuit alleges that in an effort to cover up the unlawful arrest of Mr. LaFontaine and justify the baseless attack by MPD on the peaceful assembly, an officer swore out a statement under penalty of perjury to further the prosecution of Mr. LaFontaine and backfilled the document to match Mr. LaFontaine’s description.
LaFontaine v. Rudolph, United States District Court for the District of Columbia |Civil Action No. 1:23-cv-779
Page Photo Credit “Black Lives Plaza – Black Lives Matter Protest 6/6/20 – Washington, DC,” By Geoff Livingston CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED