Seven U.S. Capitol Police officers sued former President Trump and his allies Thursday in federal court, asking the judge to hold the former president accountable for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, arguing it was spurred by racism.
The 71-page complaint says Mr. Trump conspired with other defendants such as his former campaign ally Roger Stone and the groups Stop the Steal and Proud Boys, among others, to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election results through the use of force after the former president claimed he had won the election.
“Trump and other Defendants propagated false claims of election fraud, encouraged the use of force, intimidation, and threats, and incited violence against members of Congress and the law enforcement officers whose job it was to protect them,” the lawsuit reads.
They claim the defendants violated the D.C. Bias-Related Crimes Act, which punishes crimes based on prejudice, and the Ku Klux Klan Act, which protects people from political intimidation.
“Racism and white supremacy pervaded Defendants’ efforts from the outset,” the lawsuit reads. “They relied on white supremacist groups and sympathizers to organize and hold rallies and to help plan and carry out the Capitol Attack.”
The officers asked the court to declare Donald Trump and the other defendants accountable and to reward them with financial damages.
A spokesperson for Mr. Trump, the named defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, a civil rights and criminal justice group, is representing the police officers in the lawsuit and said in a press release the defendants committed acts of domestic terrorism.
“As this lawsuit makes clear, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not just an attack on individuals, but an attack on democracy itself. It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The seven officers say they suffered physical and emotional injuries.
“We joined the Capitol Police to uphold the law and protect the Capitol community. 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 officers said in a joint statement.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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