In September 2018, the ACLU of Arizona and civil rights firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP filed a class action suit on behalf of the community organizations Puente, Poder in Action, and four individuals, against the City of Phoenix, Police Chief Jeri Williams, and a number of other officers. The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Phoenix police from using excessive force in the future and seeks financial damages for all people whose First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly were violated by the Phoenix Police Department’s violent dispersal of protesters.
Background on the case: on August 22 2017, Phoenix police officers ended a peaceful anti-Trump protest when they began attacking protesters with heavy weaponry including pepper balls, tear gas canisters, and foam batons. Phoenix police fired hundreds of projectiles indiscriminately and many Arizonans went home from the protest with physical and emotional trauma because of police actions.
In October of 2019, District Judge John J. Tuchi issued an order certifying two separate classes in Puente v. Phoenix. The group of plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including two community organizations and four individuals who were silenced, tear-gassed, and pepper-sprayed during the August 2017 protest in downtown Phoenix, has now been expanded to include possibly thousands of other individuals whose voices were violently suppressed by the illegal use of force by the Phoenix police.
The Court decided that this case can proceed as a class action. A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more people sue for themselves and for others who have similar claims. View the legal notice here.