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Center for Protest Law and Litigation Files Federal Lawsuit Against Dolton Police for Violating Protestor’s Constitutional Rights

Falsely Arrested for Calling Police “fascist pig” and “fucking pig”

Today, the Center for Protest Law & Litigation joined counsel Melinda Power of Chicago’s West Town Law Office in filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Dolton Police Department for violating the constitutional rights of Shabbir Manjee. Mr. Manjee was falsely arrested by the Dolton police on September 1, 2021, as he and others peacefully and lawfully protested the Dolton police’s murder of Alexis Wilson. The Village of Dolton is a suburb just outside of Chicago. 

The Dolton police acted to silence Mr. Manjee and other protestors challenging racist police violence. The police unlawfully and continuously forced peaceful protestors away from City Hall and an outdoor public meeting where Dolton’s mayor was present. After police falsely arrested two other protestors, including one on a bullhorn, Mr. Manjee picked up the bullhorn and called one officer a “fascist pig” and another officer a “fucking pig.” The Dolton police immediately stormed into the assembled group, shoved him to the ground, handcuffed him, and took him into custody. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that police may not arrest and punish someone because they do not like the content of their speech, including criticism or invective verbalized against police.

The police further wrongfully charged and maliciously prosecuted Mr. Manjee for months, eventually dropping the charges only on the eve of court proceedings.

“My First Amendment rights were violated. We were there to demand justice for Alexis Wilson who was wrongfully killed by the Dolton Police Department and were met with blockades and cops who abused their power. We will get justice,” Shabbir Manjee said.

“The police sought to evade accountability for the murder of Alexis Wilson and used their power of arrest to silence community opposition and punish those who dared challenge their sense of impunity,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, constitutional rights lawyer and executive director of the Center for Protest Law & Litigation at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, stated. “This lawsuit intends to hold those officers and this department accountable by vindicating and enforcing crucial and cherished constitutional rights.”  

Civil rights attorney Melinda Power, said, “Dolton police, similar to police across the nation, used their power to falsely arrest Shabbir in an effort to impede his legal right to protest the racist and deadly actions of the police. We filed this lawsuit to stop this illegal use of power.”

Media contact:

Ellie Rutledge Silver, Director of Communications
(202) 232-1180 x203