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Lynette Kalsnes,, (612) 270-8531

March 12, 2021

People injured by police while peacefully protesting George Floyd’s murder will get their day in court. A federal judge ruled that the ACLU-MN's lawsuit filed on the protesters’ behalf can continue.

“... the Court finds that the Amended Complaint plausibly alleges that an unofficial custom regarding the use of unconstitutional force against peaceful protesters existed at the time of the George Floyd protests, and that the custom was either tacitly authorized by municipal policymakers or policymakers were deliberately indifferent to it,” wrote U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and Fish & Richardson P.C. filed the class-action lawsuit last July. The lawsuit alleges that the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol used unnecessary and excessive force to suppress people’s First Amendment rights to assemble peacefully and speak out against injustice. Peaceful protesters were tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed and shot at with hard foam bullets and flashbangs to intimidate them and quash the protests. Law enforcement often fired without giving warning or orders to leave, and in the few instances where dispersal orders were given, law enforcement failed to give protesters time to comply.

The court allowed the case against the city of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Department, the police chief in his official capacity, and police Lt. Robert Kroll to continue.

All the named plaintiffs suffered injuries, including severe bruising from projectiles, and eye and vocal issues from tear gas.

“Police are supposed to protect and serve, not fire tear gas and hard foam bullets at people while they are peacefully protesting,” said ACLU-MN staff attorney Isabella Nascimento. “It is particularly outrageous that people out protesting police violence and the murder of George Floyd by MPD were met by more police violence at the hands of MPD. We’re pleased the judge allowed our case to move forward, giving us the opportunity to hold police accountable for their pattern of using indiscriminate, excessive force intended to deter people from engaging in First Amendment activity.”

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that this police conduct violated the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, an injunction against this type of conduct in the future, and an award of damages and attorneys’ fees.