Seven Capitol Police officers filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump on Thursday, alleging that he coordinated with far-right extremists to push the Big Lie and foment the January 6th riot in Washington, D.C. that left 140 law enforcement officers injured.
Trump ally Roger Stone and members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys were also targeted by the suit.
USA Today provides details:
Officer Jason DeRoche, an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police and a Navy veteran, said the civil lawsuit isn’t about winning a financial settlement. Rather, he said, the lawsuit aims to set the record straight about what happened on Jan. 6 and make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
“We don’t want something like this happening ever again,” DeRoche said.
He added that he wants Trump and the other defendants to be held accountable for what they did, so that “if they were to do this ever again, there would be consequences.”
Five of the seven officers who filed the suit are Black. The New York Times explains:
The suit contends that Mr. Trump and his co-defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute that includes protections against violent conspiracies that interfere with Congress’s constitutional duties. It also accuses the defendants of committing “bias-motivated acts of terrorism” in violation of District of Columbia law.
Three other similar lawsuits were filed in recent months and both the Department of Justice and a Congressional Committee are probing the events that led to violence on January 6th.
The new suit claims the roots of that riot stretch back to May 2020, when Trump took to social media to claim that mail-in voting could “lead to massive fraud.” The suit also makes mention of Trump’s infamous “stand back and stand by” comment at a September 2020 presidential debate. The remark, directed explicitly at the Proud Boys, was thought to embolden the group of far-right agitators.
More from USA Today on the allegations in the suit:
It ties together events from around the country – the takeover of the Michigan state Capitol on April 30, 2020, by armed protesters, violent attacks by the Proud Boys and fiery television appearances by Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers – to argue that they were all part of a nationwide conspiracy aimed at keeping Trump in office even after he lost the election.
The conspiracy increased in its fervor after the election, the lawsuit claims, as purveyors of the “Stop The Steal” conspiracy theory worked to spread disinformation about election fraud. Attacks and threats against election workers around the country should be implicitly tied to the propaganda spread by Trump and others, the complaint argues.
“This is probably the most comprehensive account of Jan. 6 in terms of civil cases,” Edward Caspar, a lawyer who is leading the suit for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told The Times. “It spans from the former president to militants around him to his campaign supporters.”