A federal judge has dismissed nearly all lawsuits against former President Trump over last year’s clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square. Social rights groups, activists, and Black Lives Matter filed lawsuits against the Trump administration accusing them of violating the protester’s civil rights. The lawsuits claimed protesters were forcefully removed from the park because of a Trump photo-op but a recent report revealed that the two events were completely unrelated.
Fox News reports:
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said Monday the claims in the suit, which alleged that Trump and then-Attorney General William Barr had conspired to violate the rights of protesters last June, were speculative and it was premature for the court to conclude whether the actions of law enforcement officers were justified.
Friedrich dismissed the claims against Barr and other federal officials, including the acting U.S. Park Police chief, Gregory Monahan, finding there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove there was any agreement or plan to violate the rights of the protesters. The judge also said the law gives them immunity in civil litigation.
In a 51-page decision, the judge did allow the claims against the Metropolitan Police Department and the Arlington Police Department — their officers were involved in clearing the park — to proceed.
The lawsuit stemmed from one of the most high-profile moments of the Trump presidency, when federal and local law enforcement officials aggressively forced a group of largely peaceful protesters back from Lafayette Square outside of the White House, firing smoke bombs and pepper balls into the crowd to disperse the group. Officers were seen shoving protesters and journalists as they pushed the crowd back.
Lawyers for Black Lives Matter and the ACLU slammed the judge’s decision claiming it would set a “dangerous precedent.”