Fourteen victims of anti-Trump rioters at a Trump campaign rally in San Jose, California on June 2 filed a class action federal civil rights lawsuit on Thursday against San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Police Chief Edgardo Garcia, the City of San Jose and several named and unknown attackers.
Two of the victims filing suit were featured in national reporting over the attacks on them: A teenage boy who was rabbit-punched and then chased and tackled by the mob, and a woman who was chased, cornered and pelted with eggs and bottles by the mob.
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The lawsuit describes police ordering Trump supporters to walk directly into the maws of the anti-Trump mob and then failing to intercede when the Trump supporters were set upon and attacked by the mob. The suit alleges this was done at the direction of the mayor and police chief.
The suit was filed by Harmeet K. Dhillon, an attorney who is also vice chair of the California Republican Party.
The suit was announced in a press release.
Fourteen individuals who attended the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign rally on June 2, 2016, in San Jose, Calif., filed a class action lawsuit this morning against the City of San Jose, its mayor, Sam Liccardo, its chief of police, Edgardo Garcia, certain named individual rioter defendants, and 38 yet-unknown “Doe” defendants, alleging that the Defendants created a dangerous situation for all Trump Rally attendees that caused plaintiffs to be exposed to brutal assault, intimidation, false imprisonment, and threats by an angry mob of hundreds of anti-Trump protesters.
“Law-abiding citizens leaving the Trump rally were victimized by being forced by armed police to walk into a riot in full swing where many were assaulted while police looked on,” said Plaintiffs’ attorney, Harmeet K. Dhillon. “We seek redress for the serious physical and other injuries our clients and the class suffered as a direct result of the City’s acts and omissions, as well as the deliberate acts of the individual assailants.”
Despite deploying over 250 San Jose police officers or others working at their direction — many of whom were outfitted in full riot gear — San Jose’s officials not only failed to protect the attendees, but made clear through their subsequent public statements that their inaction was colored by political viewpoint considerations.
“In addition to the physical injuries suffered by dozens of attendees, all of them suffered violations of their rights of free speech and free assembly, and through this action, they seek redress for the injuries they suffered to their persons and to their constitutionally protected rights,” Dhillon said. “No citizen should have to feel that he is risking life and limb to attend a political event, or feel that his or her rights are somehow less important just because they happen to be different than those of the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police. Trump supporters deserve — and are guaranteed by the Constitution — the equal protection of the law.”
The plaintiffs allege violations of the class’s constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech, peaceful assembly, and due process, as well as various other statutory and common law claims. Hernandez et al. v. City of San Jose et al., Case No. 5:16-cv-03957-LHK (N.D.C.A. July 14, 2016).
The lawsuit is also filed on behalf of individual members of the class who were assaulted by specific individuals. They range from a 14-year-old assaulted by two different individuals, denied assistance from the San Jose Fire Department on the scene, to a 71-year-old woman resident of San Jose whose glasses were ripped off and destroyed by three rioters, who the police refused to arrest despite witnessing the assault.
The Plaintiffs seek compensatory, equitable, and injunctive relief, and are represented by Harmeet K. Dhillon, Krista L. Baughman, and Gregory R. Michael of the San Francisco-based Dhillon Law Group, Inc.”