CBS – Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Attorneys representing a group called Truth Love Justice said their clients have begun filing claims against the city of Los Angeles and LAPD for damages regarding the arrests and treatment of protestors.
The protestors participated in demonstrations against police brutality from May 30 to June 3, which were sparked by the May 25 deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Attorneys John Carpenter and Sara Azari said they will pursue more claims on behalf of protestors who were arrested for failing to disperse or violating curfew.
“The path to justice begins with the truth,” Carpenter said. “When the government enacts and enforces an illegal curfew to infringe on an individual’s expression of the truth, it creates a tool of oppression to benefit those peddling a false narrative and undermines the foundation of our society.
“The voices of people begging for justice have been unlawfully silenced. Even in its wake, the chill of the illegal curfew persists. While its damage has been done, it must never be done again.”
Carpenter and Azari said that protestors were treated “inhumanely, driven around in buses for hours, restrained and unable to use the bathroom, harassed and subjected to COVID-19 exposure amid a pandemic.”
Although the cities of L.A. and Santa Monica, as well as L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, have agreed not to pursue charges against the peaceful protestors, Truth Love Justice said that the way that protestors were treated is leading them to seek restitution.
The attorneys said the LAPD performed “kettling” tactics, in which protestors attempted to disperse before the curfew but were corralled into an inescapable crowd.
Officers clad in riot gear and wielding batons used rubber bullets, tear gas, flashbang grenades, and sound cannons on the group of protestors, who the complaint says were “attacked, mobbed and unlawfully detained and arrested.”
Representatives with Truth Love Justice said that they have also filed claims on behalf of dozens of protestors, including actress Jaime King, who were arrested in Santa Monica and within L.A. County from May 30 to June 3.
“The curfews were illegal and a direct violation of these protesters’ First Amendment right to assembly and to free speech,” Azari said. “These protesters are warriors seeking systemic change, a cornerstone of which is criminal justice reform, and yet, we had cities criminalizing…thousands of individuals. It was wrong and it was unconstitutional.”
According to the group, a claim filed on Thursday alleged that L.A. took “direct action to silence” the protestors, despite protections granted through federal and state law.
The claim says that the rights of individuals under the First, Fifth, Ninth, and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution were violated.
“We will review the claim and we have no further comment at this time,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Claims are filed against a government entity as a precursor to a lawsuit.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)