The police got caught abusing their power again and the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Not on my watch!”
According to The Hill, the ACLU sued the Washington, D.C. government and a group of Metropolitan Police Officers on Thursday. The officers allegedly used batons, stun grenades and chemical irritants on journalists and protesters at the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer.
The incidents occurred on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31, a month after the D.C. Council banned the officers from using these weapons to disperse protestors.
From The Hill:
The emergency police reform bill signed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) in late July 2020 stated that MPD is prohibited from using “chemical irritants” to disperse protesters, including any “tear gas or any chemical that can rapidly produce sensory irritation or disabling physical effects in humans, which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure, or any substance prohibited by the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of photojournalists Oyoma Asinor and Bryan Dozier. Asinor was detained during the protest on Aug. 31 even though, according to the ACLU, he was not participating in any unlawful conduct. Asinor’s confiscated belongings were not returned until a year later.
According to NBC Washington, the ACLU says that both photojournalists still suffer from psychological distress.
One of the ACLU’s lawyers, Megan Yan cited the ban in a statement on Thursday according to The Hill, “It’s especially ironic that MPD responded to these demonstrations with the kind of violence that the protestors were protesting,” she said.