The lawsuit accuses President Trump and far-right extremists of pushing false election conspiracies in the hope of unsettling American democracy.
Seven Capitol Police officers have filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, along with 20 political extremists, accusing them of conspiring to disrupt the peaceful transition of power through the January 6th riots.
According to The New York Times, the lawsuit names not only Trump as a defendant, but members of far-right organizations such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
Several Trump allies, including former Trump campaign adviser Roger J. Stone, Jr., are listed as defendants, too.
While other lawsuits have been filed over the Capitol riots, The New York Times notes that this complaint is the first alleging that President Trump colluded with far-right extremists and political organizers to sabotage American democracy.
Collectively, the plaintiffs suggest that President Trump and his allies intentionally spread unsubstantiated lies about the election having been stolen.
In their complaint, Capitol Police officers say that Trump’s attempted coup was fueled by the defendants’ propagation of conspiracy theories—some of which they believe had white supremacist underpinnings.
Damon Hewitt, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is representing the Capitol Police officers, said that Trump and his confederates were trying to silence the tens of millions of Americans who voted the former president out of office.
“As this lawsuit makes clear, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not just an attack on individuals, but an attack on democracy itself,” Hewitt said. “It was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters.”
The lawsuit alleges that Trump and the other defendants violated the provisions of the so-called Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute which makes it illegal for any person to use or threaten to use force to prevent federal officers from carrying out their duties.
The Hill notes that the 71-page lawsuit cites numerous instances in which rioting Trump supporters appear to have specifically targeted African-American officers.
“As Officer Latson attempted to secure the third-floor doors to the Senate Chamber with other officers, a crowd of attackers attempted to enter through the doors. One attacker shoved Officer Latson during this altercation,” the lawsuit states. “Attackers then breached the Senate Chamber, physically assaulted Officer Latson, and hurled racial slurs at him, including ‘n****r.’”
The complaint claims that Trump and his supporters were pursuing an implicitly racist, anti-democratic agenda.
“Racism and white supremacy,” says the suit, “pervaded Defendants’ efforts from the outset.”
Edward Caspar, the attorney leading the case, told the Times he believes this complaint comprehensively demonstrates the collusion between former President Trump and his supporters.
“This is probably the most comprehensive account of 6 January in terms of civil cases,” Caspar said.