A group of seven law enforcement officers who were attacked during the Jan. 6th siege on the U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C. on Thursday filed a federal civil lawsuit against a litany of defendants who they say egged on the incident and are, therefore, civilly responsible for their injuries. The named defendants include former President Donald Trump, the Trump campaign, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, various members of the Three Percenters, Stop the Steal, Roger Stone, and a collection of others.
“As this lawsuit makes clear, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not just an attack on individuals, but an attack on democracy itself,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters.”
Hewitt is among the counsel for the plaintiffs in the case.
“For months after the 2020 election had been officially called, former President Trump and his associates made coordinated and systematic attempts to lodge their false claims of election fraud, targeted toward major cities with significant populations of voters of color,” Hewitt continued. “The lies of this conspiracy intentionally energized white supremacists and violent extremist groups and actively encouraged them to coordinate the violent attack on the Capitol. These actions put our clients in harm’s way to defend the votes and voices the conspiracy was intended to silence.”
“We joined the Capitol Police to uphold the law and protect the Capitol community,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement provided by their attorneys. “On Jan. 6 we tried to stop people from breaking the law and destroying our democracy. Since then our jobs and those of our colleagues have become infinitely more dangerous. We want to do what we can to make sure the people who did this are held accountable and that no one can do this again.”
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants “violated two provisions of the federal Ku Klux Klan Act, which forbids conspiracies to use force, intimidation, and threats to prevent federal officers from doing their jobs or to injure them in the course of their work,” according to a press release which recaps the litigation. “Their acts also amounted to politically motivated acts of domestic terrorism and incitement to riot, which violated the District of Columbia Bias-Related Crimes Act. The defendants also aided and abetted assault and battery on Capitol Police officers, in violation of D.C. law.”
The lawsuit alleges six counts in total. Counts one and two allege various violations of the Ku Klux Klan Act. The first alleges a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights; the second alleges a failure to prevent such a conspiracy. Count three alleges violations of the Washington, D.C. municipal code which forbids “bias-related crimes.” Count four alleges battery; count five alleges assault; count six alleges negligence. All of the counts are alleged by all of the named plaintiffs against all of the named defendants.
The full list of defendants are Donald Trump (in his personal capacity); Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; Stop the Steal, LLC; Ali Alexander (a/k/a Ali Abdul Razaq Akbar and Ali Abdul Akbar, an alleged Stop the Steal “national organizer for and leader”); Brandon J. Straka (an alleged Stop the Steal promoter and “WalkAway” campaign founder who is accused of breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6th); and Roger J. Stone, Jr. (the political operative who is also an alleged Stop the Steal promoter).
Also included as defendants are the Proud Boys; Proud Boys International, LLC; Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio; and alleged Proud Boys “agents and officers” Ethan Nordean, Joseph R. Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Charles Donohoe, and Dominic J. Pezzola.
Additionally named as defendants are the Oath Keepers and its alleged “members, agents, and officers” Stewart Rhodes, Thomas E. Caldwell, Jessica Watkins, and Kelly Meggs.
Further named is Alan Hostetter, who is alleged to be the founder of the “American Phoenix Project,” a group which the plaintiffs say Hostetter “used to spread TRUMP’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen and to advocate the use of violence.” Hostetter is also accused of breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6th.
The remaining defendants (Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele) are alleged members of the Three Percenters. They are also all accused of breaching the Capitol.
Various “John Does” one through ten are also named as defendants. They’re described as “unknown individuals and entities, including associates of Defendants and members of other extremist groups, who assaulted Plaintiffs or joined in the conspiracies alleged in this Complaint through their planning, support, promotion of, and participation in the January 5 and 6 rallies, the January 6 march, and the Capitol Attack, and through their use of force, intimidation, and threats against local and state election officials, federal officials, and others.”
The defendants’ full identities are more fully laid out in the lawsuit below.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and the following relief: a declaratory judgment that the alleged actions violated federal law and the D.C. code; other “appropriate injunctive relief,” compensatory damages; punitive damages; reasonable attorney fees; and any other relief the court deems “necessary and just.”
Read the lawsuit documents here:
Editor’s note: this piece began as a breaking news report and has since been substantially updated.
[image via Facebook video screengrab]
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