Dozens of protesters sued Chicago’s police chief and several officers on Thursday in federal court, accusing them of brutal attacks and false arrests during social justice demonstrations this summer.
The 205-page lawsuit that 60 protesters filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois named Chicago Police Department (CPD) Supt. David Brown as a defendant. It claims officers violated protesters’ constitutional rights and it calls for the department to pay them unspecified monetary damages.
“The CPD and other city agencies responded to these demonstrations with brutal, violent, and unconstitutional tactics that are clearly intended to injure, silence, and intimidate,” the suit said.
Demonstrations calling for racial justice and police reforms unfolded in Chicago and other U.S. cities after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in late May. Some of the demonstrations in Chicago this summer turned violent with rioters destroying property and looters stealing from retail stores.
The suit claims police officers used unjustifiable tactics such as tackling and beating protesters and using chemical agents against them. It also accuses police of falsely arresting protesters and trapping them in enclosed areas.
The city’s law department said it had not been served with the lawsuit.
“It is important to remember that these are allegations at this stage and not proof. We will review the complaint thoroughly, and each allegation it contains, once we have been served and respond through the courts as appropriate,” the department’s spokesperson, Kathleen Fieweger, said in an email to Reuters.
Before the lawsuit, protesters filed more than 520 complaints against Chicago police officers for their conduct during the demonstrations.
Five officers were referred to state and federal law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution while eight were reassigned or relieved of police duties, the suit noted.