NLG LA Chapter News on 2000 DNC Lawsuit
LA Chapter Web Site
Monday August 13 6:02 PM ET
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Activists filed two more federal lawsuits against the city of Los Angeles and its police department on Monday, claiming that officers wrongly clubbed and shot people with pepper spray, rubber bullets and beanbags at demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention last year.
The suits follow a federal lawsuit filed last week by four activist groups claiming that the LAPD violated the U.S. constitutional rights of protesters and legal observers by unnecessarily shooting and clubbing people who had received legal permits to protest in the streets of downtown Los Angeles and believed they were following city laws.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Guillermo Campos said the City Attorney has instructed the police department not to comment on the lawsuits.
``They shot scores of protesters who were following police orders,'' attorney Jim Muller told reporters at a press conference held on behalf of 16 plaintiffs involved in one of the suits, which seeks unspecified damages and class action status.
``We have several protesters with permanent scars and nerve damage'' from being shot by police with rubber bullets and beanbags, Muller said, adding that some of the plaintiffs were journalists injured while trying to cover the Democratic National Convention Aug. 13-17, 2000. ``It's fortunate considering how many rounds the LAPD fired that no one was injured more severely,'' Muller said.
The second suit, filed on behalf of six legal observers attending the DNC protests, including an attorney who was shot between the eyes with a rubber bullet by an officer standing 80 feet away, seeks unspecified damages, attorney Paul Hoffman said.
That suit accuses the LAPD of violating its plaintiffs' U.S. Constitutional rights to free speech without search and seizure under the First and Fourth amendments, Hoffman said.
``One of our clients was arrested wrongfully in addition to suffering injuries from being hit by a baton,'' he said. At least four of the six plaintiffs were injured by police and taken to local hospitals for treatment, he said.
A related suit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday alleges that LAPD ``crowd control'' tactics during the DNC and a second protest of police brutality last October, violated protesters' free speech.
The suit, filed on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Civil Liberties Union, and several other activist groups, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and unspecified damages.