BOSTON (CBS) – Four people filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday against the city of Boston and three police officers who they claim used excessive force on them at the end of a protest last summer.
A riot broke out on May 31, 2020 shortly after peaceful demonstrations in the city protesting the murder of George Floyd had just ended. Nine police officers and 18 bystanders were hospitalized as 53 people were arrested during a night of looting and vandalism.READ MORE: Mass. Probation Department Under Scrutiny Again After Employees Report Structural Racism, Discrimination
Four people who claim they were hurt by Boston Police filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston Monday. They want money as punishment for the alleged violations of their civil rights.
Jasmine Huffman claims Officer Michael Burke knocked her down with his riot baton as she stood still with her arms up and then walked over her body with other officers.
“When I put my hands up I wanted to appear as non-threatening as possible,” Huffman said. “But it was just pure shock.”
Justin Ackers said he was pepper sprayed by police as he recorded the protest on his phone. Then, as he started to leave the protest on his moped, he alleges Officer Burke hit him with his baton for no reason, knocking him down.
“If I did that to somebody I would be in jail,” Ackers said. “They need to hold themselves accountable for their actions.”
Caitlyn Hall claims Officer Edward Joseph Nolan hit her with his riot baton as she stood with her hands up in Downtown Crossing. Hall said her head hit the pavement and her tooth punctured her lip.READ MORE: Woman Hit, Killed By School Bus In Mattapan Remembered As 'All-Around Good Person'
“When she regained consciousness, she saw Officer Nolan and showed him her injury. He responded by hitting her in the chest. As she walked away from him, he hit her on her back,” the lawsuit alleges.
Ben Chambers-Maher said he was trying to get to his car when he was allegedly pepper sprayed twice by Officer Michael McManus.
“Three of the four plaintiffs have video recordings of their assault,” the lawsuit alleges. None of the four knew each other and none were among the 53 people arrested that night.
The city is named in the lawsuit for allegedly allowing the excessive force.
“The complaint alleges that the department did not have a proper plan for handling this protest, the officers were not properly supervised, and the department tolerated unnecessary use of force and had a blue wall of silence,” attorneys Howard Friedman and Mark Loevy-Reyes said in a joint statement Monday.
A Boston Police spokesperson told WBZ-TV the department does not comment on pending litigation.MORE NEWS: 51,007 Total Breakthrough COVID Cases Reported In Massachusetts, Which Is 1.08% Of Vaccinated People
“We are reviewing the filing and have no further comment at this time,” a spokesperson for Acting Mayor Kim Janey told WBZ in an email.