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Capitol Police Officers Sue Trump, Stone, Extremist Groups Over Jan. 6

August 26, 2021 by Dan McCue
Trump supporters march on the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021.

WASHINGTON — Seven Capitol Police Officers filed a federal lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, and members of two right-wing extremist groups on Thursday over their role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The 71-page complaint accuses Trump of acting in concert with groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to engage in a “violent, mass attack” on the Capitol designed to unlawfully keep him in power despite losing the 2020 election.

The plaintiffs, five of whom are Black, allege Trump fueled the effort by repeatedly claiming the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and that mail-in voting in particular was being used to “steal the vote.”

Trump’s repeated claims, and his refusal to accept Joe Biden’s victory in the election helped foment widespread anger among his supporters and spawned wild conspiracies among right-wing extremist groups like the defendant Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, the plaintiffs say.

An ominious sign carried by Trump supporter shortly before the siege on the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021.

They go on to say Trump and members of the Trump for President staff planned and organized the Jan. 6 rally, including the application for the permit, the choice of vendors, the

preparation of the venue, and the selection of the speakers and music. 

“They chose the date and time of the rally because it was immediately before Congress was set to begin its count of Electoral College ballots,” the complaint says. “Trump also insisted on a march to the Capitol that day … even though the permit application stated that there was no plan for a march and the event permit prohibited a march.”

“Trump and his co-conspirators promoted and prepared for the rally and march, continued spreading false claims of election fraud, and continued trying to intimidate and threaten

government officials into stopping the electoral vote count and announcement of the election of

Biden and Harris,” it continues.

Damon Hewitt, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is representing the officers, said in a statement that the ensuing attack on the Capitol wasn’t just an attack on individuals, but an “attack on democracy itself.”

“It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters,” he added.

The lawsuit is the first to directly accuse Trump of conspiring with far-right groups in a bid to hold onto office.

“For months after the 2020 election had been officially called, former President Trump and his associates made coordinated and systematic attempts to lodge their false claims of election fraud, targeted toward major cities with significant populations of voters of color,” Hewitt said. “The lies of this conspiracy intentionally energized White supremacists and violent extremist groups and actively encouraged them to coordinate the violent attack on the Capitol. These actions put our clients in harm’s way to defend the votes and voices the conspiracy was intended to silence.”

The suit alleges Trump and the other defendants violated both state law and provisions of the Ku Klux Klan Act, a federal statute that makes it illegal to engage in a conspiracy to interfere with civil rights, and the Bias-Related Crime Act of 1989.

The defendants seek damages to be determined at trial, but not less than $500,000.

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