Seven veteran Capitol Police officers who defended Congress during the Jan. 6 attack are suing former President Donald Trump, pro-Trump militias and other associates, claiming they conspired to violently overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The suit, filed Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Washington by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, contends that Trump and his allies violated the Ku Klux Klan Act and D.C. law by scheming to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win.
“Because of Defendants’ unlawful actions, Plaintiffs were violently assaulted, spat on, tear-gassed, bear-sprayed, subjected to racial slurs and epithets, and put in fear for their lives,” the suit says. “Plaintiffs’ injuries, which Defendants caused, persist to this day.”
Also named as defendants in the suit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages: the Trump campaign, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, a group called Stop the Steal that helped organize the rally Trump addressed on Jan. 6, more than a dozen individuals facing criminal charges related to the riot and several organizations whose members were allegedly involved, such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
“We joined the Capitol Police to uphold the law and protect the Capitol community,” the seven officers said in a joint statement. “On Jan. 6 we tried to stop people from breaking the law and destroying our democracy. Since then our jobs and those of our colleagues have become infinitely more dangerous. We want to do what we can to make sure the people who did this are held accountable and that no one can do this again.”
The lawsuit is the second by Capitol Police officers against Trump. The first, filed earlier then year by two officers, accuses Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
Members of Congress have also sued over the violence. In February, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) filed suit against Trump, Giuliani, the Proud Boys and others. A dozen other Democratic House members joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs later, and Thompson dropped out of the case in July after being named chair of the House select committee probing the origins of the riot.
In March, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) sued Trump, Giuliani, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Donald Trump Jr. over their alleged roles in encouraging the violence.
Lawyers for the officers pressing the newly filed suit asked that it be assigned to Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee already handling the other riot-related civil cases.
Legal experts have said that cases against people actually accused of violence on Jan. 6 are likely to have traction. However, the claims against Trump, Giuliani and others face an uphill battle in court due to broad First Amendment protections accorded to speech on political topics. Attorneys pressing the cases say they hope to get the suits into a discovery phase, where they can explore how the rallies leading up to the Jan. 6 riot were financed and what discussions there were among organizers about the potential for violence.