Multiple civil rights groups are suing US President Donald Trump after security forces forcibly moved peaceful demonstrators who were gathered outside the White House to protest against the custodial killing of George Floyd. In their lawsuit, the rights groups have accused Trump and other White House officials of violating the constitutional rights of the protestors, the Guardian reported.
On Monday, law enforcement authorities allegedly fired pepper bullets, smoke canisters and chemical irritants at protestors gathered near the White House in order to clear the path for Trump who was set to visit a nearby Church, CNN reported. Trump was later photographed holding up a Bible outside the St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just down the road from the White House.
When @usparkpolicepio says they didn’t use “CS or CN” tear gas, technically that’s correct. “OC” gas cannisters used instead. Causes same tears, tight breath and comes out green. This is not a smoke canister. I picked this off the street after it was launched at us Monday. pic.twitter.com/UuGJy0A6cr
— Nathan Baca (@NathanBacaTV) June 3, 2020
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU) and three other groups on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as individual protestors who were present at the scene earlier this week.
“The President’s shameless, unconstitutional, unprovoked, and frankly criminal attack on protesters because he disagreed with their views shakes the foundation of our nation’s constitutional order,” ACLU Legal Director Scott Michelman said in a statement released by the civil rights group.
Attorney General William Barr, who is also named in the lawsuit, earlier defended the decision to forcefully remove peaceful protestors, saying it was necessary for the protection of officers and federal property, the Guardian reported.
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Arnold & Porter were also among the civil rights groups that filed the lawsuit.
Protests have been witnessed across the US’ national capital following the death of 46-year-old African American George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground and suffocated by a Minneapolis police official last month. Multiple clashes between law enforcement authorities and protesters have been reported across Washington DC.