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Police Riot at April 2003 Protest


Officer grabs Mark Frucht before assaulting and beating him during a police riot on April 12, 2003.

This litigation was filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice on behalf of demonstrators who were assaulted in a police riot against a permitted anti-war demonstration protesting the occupation of Iraq on April 12, 2003.

In an incident caught by news cameras, plaintiff Marc Frucht, was held on the ground by police officers as another clubbed him repeatedly in the head with his nightstick. He had been attempting to photograph police misconduct during the police riot when he was attacked. Plaintiff, Sean Taft-Morales was injured when the police rushed and began attacking the crowd from both sides with clubs and fists as it marched on its permitted route.

In addition to having damages awarded to the plaintiffs, the lawsuit sought an injunction against the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)’s use of motorcycles and bicycles as weapons to drive into and against demonstrators, the MPD’s use of police and cycle lines to flank marchers and prohibit persons from leaving or joining demonstration activities, changes which were codified into law restricting D.C. police conduct.

Mark Frucht and Sean Taft-Morales v. District of Columbia, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia | Case No. 04-CV-599

Press Coverage

The Washington Post – D.C. Officer on Desk Duty After Allegedly Hitting Protester

Page Photo Credit “April 12, 2003 anti-war protest [18],” by Ben Schumin CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED