The ACLU of Arizona wants to hear from people who were harmed by Phoenix police during the anti-Trump protest held on August 22, 2017, in downtown Phoenix. Despite the crowd’s peaceful assembly, Phoenix police fired harmful weaponry including tear gas, pepper spray, and dangerous projectiles into the crowd without issuing any warnings or dispersal orders.
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 and 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.
“We want to hear from anyone who went home injured because of the Phoenix Police Department’s actions,” said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Kathy Brody. “The cavalier disregard for the public’s safety that was exhibited that night is alarming. We need the public’s help to hold the Phoenix Police Department accountable for its disregard of the rights of protestors.”
The ACLU of Arizona wants to hear from people interested in contributing to the lawsuit. People who protested on August 22, 2017, near the Phoenix Convention Center at approximately 8:30 p.m., when Phoenix police began unlawfully dispersing the crowd, are encouraged to answer a number of questions, including:
- Whether they inhaled or otherwise suffered the effects of the gas and/or smoke dispersed by police.
- Whether they were hit and/or injured by any projectile used by the police to disperse the crowd.
- Whether they had to seek medical attention because of anything that happened to them during the protest.
- Whether they have any documentation of their presence at the protest such as photos, videos, or witnesses.
“People who come forward to report the violence against anti-Trump protesters that they witnessed or experienced will help to ensure that it is not repeated again” said Cindy Pánuco, an attorney with Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “The hundreds of people who were unnecessarily physically and emotionally harmed must get justice.”
Individuals can fill out the questionnaire here: https://www.acluaz.org/TrumpProtestQuestions.