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D.C. sued for police use of force during 2020 racial justice protests

Excerpt from The Washington Post | Read the full story here.

“We were there to challenge the institutionalized police violence perpetrated against Black and Brown people in the United States… In response, the DC police doubled down, trampling rights and inflicting injuries on those who would challenge their impunity.”

Elizabeth Ferris, PCJF client, to The Washington Post

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of three plaintiffs, who allege that they were peacefully protesting the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd when they were injured by the police use of force. These tactics, the suit alleged, were used by police to retaliate against demonstrators protesting racism and police violence.

“It’s crucial that people must be able to come here to petition their government as enshrined in the Constitution. And that they can do so without being subjected to false arrest, to brutality, to suppression, to assault,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights lawyer and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “We’re one police murder away from another wave of people being in the streets, and those people then being targeted for these kinds of vicious and maiming assaults.”

[…] The suit alleged that police “attacked” peaceful protesters with “the knowledge and authorization” of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and then-D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, who had found himself increasingly at odds with city lawmakers on how to negotiate changes in policing amid a reckoning over race and social justice.