The city of Detroit is trying a new approach in a year in which it, like many other American cities, has seen violent protests and destruction on the streets.
Detroit has taken legal action against Black Lives Matter activists, alleging a “civil conspiracy” and claiming that the protests in the city “have turned violent on several occasions, endangering the lives of the police and the public.” according to reports.
The city says activists participated in the conspiracy, “slandered” the mayor and police, and argues the city should be awarded damages, The Intercept reported.
The city cites four protests that took place in the city this year and alleges police injuries included “cracked vertebrae, lacerations and concussions,” according to the report.
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The repeated violence is expected to overturn claims by protest group BLM Detroit Will Breathe that protests should be protected under the First Amendment, the city claims, according to the report.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this year, as a counterclaim after activists sued the city in late August, alleging that police “have repeatedly responded with violence” when protesters protested.
The move infuriated critics, including US Representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Who criticized the city’s counterclaim as “an unthinkable attack on our constitutional rights,” in a November article published in Detroit Free Press. .
Following the protesters’ trial, a judge on September 4 ordered Detroit police to stop using batons, shields, rubber bullets and other riot tools and tactics against crowds.
The city’s police chief, James Craig, replied at the time that his officers had never used force against protesters who remained peaceful.
“If anyone resists arrest or attempts to attack our officers, we will use force that is both reasonable and necessary to overcome the resistance,” he told the Detroit News at the time. “We don’t want the protesters to be hurt, and we don’t want the officers to be hurt either. ”
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Protesters have so far responded to the city’s lawsuit by seeking support from national legal groups and calling on city council members to cut funding for the city’s lawsuit, The Intercept reported.
The city has also received outside support, the report notes, including from the National Police Association.