Donald Trump and a cadre of current and former federal officials can’t be sued over the violent clearing of peaceful protesters from a park in Washington, DC, last summer shortly before the then-president passed through for a photo op, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters who were forcibly removed from Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020, had sued Trump, former attorney general Bill Barr, and top officials from other federal agencies involved in clearing the park, along with local police from Washington and Arlington, Virginia, who were deployed to the square. In a 51-page decision, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled the claims against local officers could go forward but dismissed all but one against the federal defendants.
Friedrich wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to stitch together enough evidence at this stage of the case to show there was a conspiracy among Trump, Barr, and other federal officials to violate the rights of Black people and their supporters. The challengers separately argued that Barr and other senior officials should be individually liable for their role in deploying officers to the square, similar to how federal law enforcement officers can be sued for violating people’s civil rights, but Friedrich ruled that type of claim couldn’t apply to this “new context.” [Continue reading…]