A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement are being priced out of their civil rights by the prohibitive costs of defending themselves against police violence.
All five — Jessica Benton, Shelby Bryant, Anne Marie Cavanaugh, Alyssa Garrison, and Clare Thomas — say they were the victims of “indiscriminate” police violence during protests on Capitol Hill on June 25. They claim that repeated use of force by SPD during more than six weeks of civil unrest over systemic racism and police brutality against people of color has made it impossible to exercise their right to gather and protest without personal protective gear, which isn’t cheap.
The lawsuit, assigned to Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the department from using force or crowd-dispersal munitions.
Police have reacted after isolated but destructive incidents of arson and vandalism by some involved in the protests, and say dozens of officers have suffered injuries from thrown objects and fireworks.