Can You Sue The Local Police Department For Personal Injury?

Thousands are asking this question following nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. Reports of police brutality are coming in by the hundreds. Unlawful arrests of peaceful protesters have become common all across the country. 

In Los Angeles, thousands of peaceful protesters were subdued and arrested using “less lethal” methods like teargas and rubber bullets, handcuffed, and then placed on buses for no fewer than three hours without access to bathrooms or medical help for injuries sustained because of these tactics. 

A subsequent class action lawsuit built on behalf of BLM-LA said, “The class members experienced numbness in their hands and requests to loosen the zip ties or remove them went unanswered. Without access to bathrooms, arrestees were compelled to urinate on themselves.”

At least 10,000 people were allegedly struck by rubber bullets. All will be included in the lawsuit.

Similar class action cases are likely to develop all across the United States. In other words, you can sue the police for personal injury — but it might make more sense to sue them for violating your constitutional rights instead. 

But they’re not the only ones you can sue.

President Donald Trump and his own appointed Attorney General William Barr are being sued by the overwhelmingly peaceful Lafayette protesters who were forced away via assault and battery and tear gas for the president’s obvious photo op.

The lawsuit reads, “This case is about the president and attorney general of the United States ordering the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators who were speaking out against discriminatory police brutality targeted at Black people.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of BLM-DC, the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU). They received aid from Arnold & Porter LLP, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

The complaint also names the D.C. National Guard, U.S. Park Police, the heads of Secret Service, and others as defendants in the case.