This past Monday, Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter (BLMLA), along with other groups of protesters, have taken to the courts where they have filed a federal lawsuit aimed at the city of Santa Monica, California. The BLMLA claim that the cities response to their demonstrations, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd this past year, were fire with violations of the statutory and constitutional right of the demonstrators.
As stated in the lawsuit: “BLMLA intends to assist, plan, participate in and hold similar events in the future, on its own or in conjunction with others, and fears that the same unlawful police actions in response to protests of institutional racism and police brutality will be repeated absent injunctive and declaratory relief to prohibit the practices, policies, and customs that caused the unlawful action in response to the recent protests.”
As stated by the Los Angeles Times, The lawsuit “seeks class-action status, accuses the city and the Santa Monica Police Department of using excessive force against protesters, arresting them without justification and subjecting them to inhumane conditions while detained.” As stated by the news source, “It also alleges that the department unjustly focused on peaceful protesters while ignoring individuals who were burglarizing stored and committing other crimes nearby, and misused emergency curfew orders to clear the streets of legitimate demonstrators.”
#BlackLivesMatter Protest in Santa Monica breaks into violence as protesters defy disperse and curfew order. Bricks and rocks thrown by Protesters, 1 seen firing hand held illegal fireworks at police who respond with over 100 37 & 40mm less lethal rounds and teargas. @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/fK9eq5LkVt
— Pete Demetriou (@knxpete) June 1, 2020
In an interview with the times, a spokesperson for Santa Monica stated that the city was currently reviewing the federal lawsuit, but they did not, however, issue comment on any of the allegations.
Carol Sobel is currently slated as the lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Sobel is a Santa Monica-based activist litigator who has previously spent over 20 years as a staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. Currently, she works as a part of the board of directors of the National Police Accountability Project, which is a nonprofit organization that seems to be connected to the National Lawyers Guild. Sobel is also already representing BLMLA in another class-action lawsuit being slated against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
The lawsuit in question makes the claim that a city-wide curfew order was instituted by the City of Santa Monica back on May 31st and on June 1st of 2020 which was “aimed at preventing all political protest at a time when hundreds of peaceful protestors sought to express their opposition to the police violence that resulted in the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and many other Black and Brown men and women.”