A civil rights lawsuit was filed by seven Capitol Police officers on Thursday against former President Trump and his campaign, Roger Stone, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and others over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The lawsuit alleges that Trump, with other defendants, "deliberately and persistently made and encouraged false claims of election fraud to discredit the outcome of the election and disingenuously incite outrage among his supporters."
It also claims that the former president and others named in the lawsuit "encouraged and supported acts of violence, knowing full well that among his supporters were extremist groups and individuals, like PROUD BOYS, who had demonstrated their propensity to the use of violence against those they regarded as critical of TRUMP."
As a result, the plaintiffs allege that, along with the other defendants listed, Trump engaged in terrorism with trying to use the "Capitol Attack" to remain in office.
The complaint, in which five of the officers suing are black, accuses Trump and others of having racist and white supremacist motives behind claiming there was election fraud, specifically in areas with high black populations, such as Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
"They relied on white supremacist groups and sympathizers to organize and hold rallies and to help plan and carry out the Capitol Attack," the lawsuit reads. "Participants in the Attack directed racial epithets at Black officers protecting the Capitol. And after breaching the Capitol, the attackers paraded the Confederate flag and other symbols of white supremacy through the Capitol's halls."
"As this lawsuit makes clear, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not just an attack on individuals, but an attack on democracy itself," said Damon Hewitt, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represents the Capitol Police officers. "It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters."
The lawsuit claims that Trump and the other defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was originally signed into law in 1871 and partially updated in the 1980s, by conspiring to interfere with civil rights. Specifically, to prevent, force, intimidate, or threaten "any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof."
Accounts of the officers filing the lawsuit include "being physically struck by attackers," and being "violently assaulted, spat on, tear-gassed, bear-sprayed, subjected to racial slurs and epithets, and put in fear for their lives."
This lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., is the first one filed in recent months to allege that Trump conspired with other groups "to use force, intimidation, and threats to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 Presidential election."