Assembly | Protest | Right to Assemble

ACLU Sues City of Minneapolis For Injuries to Demonstrators During George Floyd Protests

Protesters gather at the scene where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was pinned down by a police officer kneeling on his neck before later dying in hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, along with law firm Fish & Richardson, has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of four protesters against the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Chief, the head of the police officer’s union, and others.

Filed on July 28th in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the suit accuses the Minneapolis Police Department of “actively suppressing” the rights of citizens to assemble by using “unnecessary and excessive force against protesters who gathered to express their outrage at the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department,” reads the complaint.

According to the suit, the four named plaintiffs—Nekima Levy Armstrong, Marques Armstrong, Terry Hempfling, and Rachel Clark—sustained injuries including severe bruising and vocal issues from the tear gas and rubber bullets the officers used on them.

“No one should face tear gassing, foam bullets or pepper spray while exercising their right to peacefully protest,” ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson said in a statement. “That law enforcement here followed their typical pattern of using indiscriminate force rather than respecting the First Amendment, especially following the brutal murder of George Floyd by four of their own, is disgraceful and an affront to our Constitution.”

The lawsuit requests class action status, that the City of Minneapolis and the other defendants publicly state that they violated the plaintiffs’ First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and bans the Minneapolis Police Department from using chemical and less-than lethal weapons during future protests. 


ACLU Press Release With Complaint   StarTribune