Truckers in People's Convoy sue D.C., say road blockades violated constitutional free speech rights

Civil case was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia
Image
A trucker sits in his cab as truck drivers and supporters gather one day before a ‘People’s Convoy’ departs for Washington, DC, to protest COVID-19 mandates on February 22, 2022 in Adelanto, California.
The People's Convoy trucker protest
Getty Images

Sixteen truckers who participated in the recent People's Convoy in the county’s capitol region are suing the District of Columbia for blockades they argue prevented them from exercising their "constitutionally protected right to free speech" on the streets of Washington, D.C.

The civil case was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia and argues the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights were violated, according to the news website DCist.

The truckers came from across the country to protest what they called the government's "continued state of emergency declaration and COVID-19 related policies."

Their effort was similar to an earlier one in Canada. The U.S. truckers also wanted to honor 13 military members who died in Afghanistan during the withdrawal from the country last summer, DCist also reports.

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial. The D.C. Attorney's General Office has declined to comment.

The truckers say their convoy in March was blocked from entering the city by vehicles from the District's Metropolitan Police Department and Department of Public Work, following the one Canada that gridlocked Ottawa. 

Tractor-trailers are not permitted on many D.C. streets. And authorities have said the closing of entrances into the city was a safety matter and an attempt to prevent vehicle gridlock.

The plaintiffs are suing for violation of due process, not granting equal protection, and violation of free speech. They also claim that the blockade is directly responsible for a crash that killed two when a speeding vehicle hit a dump truck on an interstate, DCist also reports.