DETROIT — The city of Detroit is fighting back against radicals after witnessing violence and destruction in their streets during a year of unrest, which has struck many U.S. cities.
Detroit has filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter activists, alleging a “civil conspiracy” and claiming the protests in the city “have repeatedly turned violent, endangering the lives of police and the public,” according to reports.
The city says activists participated in the conspiracy, “defamed” the mayor and police, and contends that the city should be awarded damages, The Intercept reported.
Moreover, the lawsuit cites four protests that occurred in the city this year that led to significant officer injuries, which included “cracked vertebrae, lacerations, and concussions,” according to the report.
The repeated violence should negate BLM protest group Detroit Will Breathe’s claims that the demonstrations should be protected under the First Amendment, the city asserts.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this year, as a counter claim after activists sued the city in late August, alleging that police officers “repeatedly responded with violence” when demonstrators protested, Fox News reported.
As you might expect, the move has infuriated critics, including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. She blasted the city’s counter claim as “an unthinkable assault on our constitutional rights,” in a November op-ed essay published in the Detroit Free Press.
Following the protesters’ lawsuit, a judge on Sept. 4 ordered Detroit’s police to stop using batons, shields, rubber bullets and other anti-riot tools and tactics against crowds.
Detroit police Chief James Craig responded at the time that his officers had never used force against any protesters who remained peaceful.
“If someone is resisting arrest, or trying to attack our officers, we will use the force that’s both reasonable and necessary to overcome the resistance,” he told the Detroit News at the time. “We don’t want the protesters injured, and we don’t want officers injured, either.”
“When you resist, and there is video that supports our claim, I mean, you can see in the video where protesters are literally grabbing on officers so they can free their comrades from being arrested. That’s not peaceful,” Craig added, Law Officer reported. “That’s resisting a lawful arrest. The judge also includes arrests must be made on probable cause. That’s exactly what we were doing, and so, I’m confident we’re going to continue to move forward.”
The protesters have so far responded to the city’s lawsuit by seeking support from national legal groups and by appealing to members of the City Council to cut off funding for the city’s legal action, The Intercept reported.
The city has received outside backing as well, the report notes, including from the National Police Association.