Washington, D.C.

ACLU Sues D.C. Police Over Inauguration Day Arrests

Four plaintiffs say they were pepper sprayed, handcuffed so tight they lost feeling in their fingers, and subjected to "unjustified manual rectal probing."

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Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror/Newscom

The American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of four people who say the police pepper sprayed, wrongly arrested, and brutalized them during the January 20 Inauguration Day protests against Donald Trump.

While the majority of the protesters during Trump's inauguration were peaceful, anarchist and "antifa" groups within the crowd threw rocks through store windows, smashed cars, and destroyed bus stops. In the ensuing fracas, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) launched tear gas and arrested more than 200 people, including several journalists and legal observers. Most of the charges against reporters and other bystanders have been dropped.

The four plaintiffs—a freelance photographer, a legal observer, and two protesters exercising their First Amendment rights—say they were either doing their jobs or peacefully protesting far away from any acts of vandalism. Judah Ariel, who was wearing a bright green hat identifying him as a legal observer, said he was monitoring MPD detainees when he was pepper sprayed without warning. He was not arrested, but the three other plaintiffs were detained and arrested. Criminal charges against one of the plaintiffs were dropped, but charges are still pending against the other two.

"In the course of the roundup and subsequent processing of demonstrators, police held detainees for hours without food, water, or access to toilets" and "handcuffed detainees so tightly as to cause injury or loss of feeling," the lawsuit says. According to the suit, two of the plaintiffs "were subjected to intrusive, humiliating, and unjustified manual rectal probing and grabbing of their testicles."

It's not very fun reading:

ACLU of DC

"The MPD's extreme tactics against members of the public, including journalists, demonstrators, and observers, were unjustifiable and unconstitutional," Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU-DC, said in a statement. "People from all over the country come to the nation's capital to exercise their constitutional right to protest. MPD's wanton and vindictive conduct on January 20 chills free speech, which is a vital part of our democracy."

In a statement, a spokesperson for MPD said that "each year, the men and women of MPD protect the rights and ensure the safety of thousands of First Amendment assemblies, demonstrations and protests.

"During the 58th Presidential Inauguration, there were thousands of individuals who exercised their constitutional right to peacefully assemble and speak out for their cause," the spokesperson continued. "Unfortunately, there was another group of individuals who chose to engage in criminal acts, destroying property and hurling projectiles, injuring at least six officers. These individuals were ultimately arrested for their criminal actions, and the bulk of them are pending prosecution after being indicted by a grand jury. As with any pending criminal or civil matter, we will continue to support and respect the formal legal process. Moreover, all instances of use of force by officers and allegations of misconduct will be fully investigated."

The four plaintiffs are seeking damages for wrongful arrest; excessive force; violations of their First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights; and emotional distress.

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  1. Meh. Snowflakes tend to cry about a lot of things.

    Stop coddling the antifa terrorists and you won’t be collateral damage.

    1. Everyone thinks only rule-breakers get state-sanctioned fingers up the butt until it happens to them.

      1. To be fair, damikesc doesn’t think there is any such thing as an unjustified manual rectal probing by a government agent.

      2. In fairness, I prefer my rectal probing automated.

    2. Meh? Dude, you’re coddling finger rapists. The fuck is wrong with you?

  2. All cops are heroes. I love big brother.

    1. No. But slugging SJW snowflakes is always a good idea.

      1. I’m going to defend the people here and assume that they mostly don’t agree with you that people with different political views than you ought to be violently assaulted, and that you’re part of the problem.

        1. they mostly don’t agree with you that people with different political views than you ought to be violently assaulted

          You’re right. Most of us here don’t agree with him on that.

          You seem to, though.

          1. Only because you equate violent assault and taxation.

            1. No – more because whenever there’s an article about some leftist committing an act of violence against someone they disagree with, you rush here to defend them and call us racist for criticizing them.

            2. It’s not violent assault. It’s armed robbery

        2. These antifa goons are a domestic terrorism group and they’ve been given benefit of the doubt enough. I wouldn’t mind people beating the high holy hell out of the Westborough Baptist trolls, either.

      2. How exactly are you any different from antifa?

  3. The important thing is that we can add four to the Inauguration Day crowd total.

    1. Hahaha…. Fist, you’re a prince.

    2. I got an email to attend ‘Freedom Fest’ and a chuckled to myself imagining that if I went I’d put on a backward baseball cap, a sleeveless shirt exposing the guns, and I’d tell everyone, “Hey it’s me guys, Fist of Etiquette!”

      No one would believe it after a moment of dialogue but it’d be worth it for the look of shock on their face.

      1. You better have a BMI of 23 or under.

  4. I never believe cops, but I don’t have any reason to believe these guys’ accounts either.

  5. Might I just say that these are not the type of plaintiffs that garner a lot of sympathy and that the ACLU is not a civil rights organization that has performed particularly well as of recently.

  6. Mr. Horse’s rectum. Wasn’t that in an old Ren and Stimpy cartoon?

  7. “Unjustified manual rectal probing” was Crusty’s nickname in college.

    1. major?

  8. “During the inauguration” – before or after? Were these Obama’s cops or Trump’s cops? I’m sure these people sincerely believe there’s a difference, when you call for government to “do something” it’s going to be government doing something for you rather than to you.

    1. when you call for government to “do something” it’s going to be government doing something for you rather than to you.

      I think you’ve got that backwards.

      1. Eh. It’s all for your own good, amirite?

  9. My favorite fantasy remedy again: anyone connected to a case can file for any warrant they want, subject to appeal by the target for being confusing, irrelevant, not minimal, and other simple concepts. Executing a warrant beyond its description is grounds for its own complaint, but what really matters is that whoever loses also has all their warrants rebound on them. You searched their house, arrested them at work, detained them without food, water, or toilet? Then you get the same treatment upon losing the case.

    There’d be some funky chaos for a while, but cops aren’t so stupid as to not learn about consequences, and most of their actions would become much more polite and civil. And most people would rather settle for some cash instead of taking time off work to go arrest a cop or District Attorney or search their house. But the cops and DAs who still acted like thugs would have the choice of paying up a lot of money or being treated like thugs.

    I personally would think it quite fun to stuff a cop into a locked closet for a month or two, shove trays thru a slot, give them a bucket to squat over and smell. A lot of other people would too.

    Cops would tame right out pretty damn quick, I think. The thugs would either be too expensive to keep on the payroll, or get tired of being treated so poorly and quit.

    1. I personally would think it quite fun to stuff a cop into a locked closet for a month or two, shove trays thru a slot, give them a bucket to squat over and smell. A lot of other people would too.

      “It’s rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”

  10. If he wasn’t guilty, he wouldn’t be here. Next case!
    Title IX for the press; turnabout is fair play.

  11. You’ll be singing a different tune when someone shows up next time with a Molotov cocktail hidden behind their testicles.

    1. funny.

    2. Rule 34?

  12. is 116 grounds for an animal cruelty charge at the very least?

  13. I’d have to know more about the particulars of circumstances of the arrest. If these four were, for example, part of a group that was blocking traffic or crossed over a police barricade then they are subject to arrest. Unless the ACLU is arguing that their clients were in a place that they were legally permitted to be (which they haven’t argued AFAIK), then it’s likely the arrests were warranted.

  14. This report has left me unfulfilled. With all the talk of manual rectal probing I can’t help but wonder, did they cum or not?

  15. According to the suit, two of the plaintiffs “were subjected to intrusive, humiliating, and unjustified manual rectal probing and grabbing of their testicles.”
    Does Crusty have a police uniform and cannot account for his whereabouts Jan. 20?

  16. “Unjustified manual rectal probing?” Perverts among the police?

  17. There is a lot that is confusing about this.

    1) what the hell were they looking for? Is it common for journalists at protests to keep contraband in their rectums or nestled in their balls? Why did they think, lets touch dem ballz?

    2) Are police really so incompetent that they just grab 4 random guys instead of the obviously visible mob of guys wearing black masks running around rioting?

  18. A question is, of course, are these innocents that got wrongly abused by the police, or rioters who simply managed to slip through the cracks of the burden of proof and were (for example) properly checked for hidden weapons? And of course none of us know.

    I would suggest, however, that if you know rioters are going to show up at an event, and you go anyway, you’re voluntarily taking on the risk of being treated as a rioter, if only because of the inherent confusion caused by riots. And insofar as you have voluntarily assumed that risk, you weaken your tort claim complaining about being treated as a rioter.

  19. Why are they complaining? They protested for more government and they got it…good and hard.MAGA

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