On Monday, police fired tear gas at peaceful protesters so that President Donald Trump could pose for a photo. Trump was condemned widely—even by former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Now, he’s being sued.
The ACLU of DC, on behalf of the DC chapter of Black Lives Matter and individual protesters who were attacked in the president’s stunt, filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Trump, attorney general William Barr, and other federal officials for violating their constitutional rights. According to the lawsuit, the president’s actions are “the manifestation of the very despotism against which the First Amendment was intended to protect.”
The events that transpired over the course of 48 minutes in Lafayette Park on Monday have drawn universal outrage. In isolation, a country’s leader gassing protesters for no reason is heinous. In context, it’s hard to fathom how it could be forgivable (even if Republican Senators found a way). Here’s what happened, per Mother Jones‘ Becca Andrews:
Police fired tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, on Monday evening, just before President Trump delivered an address in which he threatened to deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed military personnel and law enforcement officers” to curb protests and enforce curfews. Trump then proceeded to walk across the park to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, the site of a fire Sunday night, for a photo op in which he posed with a Bible.