DETROIT – A judge has temporarily barred Detroit police officers from using certain tactics against protesters.
Detroit Will Breathe’s motion was granted, in part, for a temporary restraining order against the city of Detroit, specifically the Detroit Police Department.
Detroit Will Breathe and 14 individuals alleged that Detroit police responded to protests with excessive force and violated their first and fourth amendment rights.
A lawsuit was filed with the plaintiffs seeking a temporary restraining order enjoining the city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department from using certain tactics.
Those tactics include the use of striking weapons, chemical agents and rubber bullets against demonstrators, medical support personnel and legal observers. According to court documents, the motion was granted in part.
Protests began in Detroit on May 29, in response to the death of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Demonstrations have continued throughout the summer.
The plaintiffs allege that police responded to peaceful demonstrations with beatings, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound cannons, flash grenades, chokeholds, and mass arrests without probable cause.
The motion for a temporary restraining order focuses mainly on clashes that occurred between May 29 and June 2, on July 10, and on August 22, 2020. Plaintiffs argued that the tactics violated their constitutional rights, including the right to free speech and assembly under the First Amendment and the right to be free from excessive force and arrest without probable cause under the Fourth Amendment.
Below is a statement from Lawrence Garcia, Corporation Counsel:
“The parameters laid out in the order are very consistent with current DPD policy. We are disappointed the order was entered without an evidentiary hearing because we believe when the evidence is heard, the police actions to date will be deemed justified.”
What tactics are now temporarily prohibited?
For a period of 14 days, that could be extended, the Detroit Police Department is prohibited from using the following:
- Using striking weapons (including, but not limited to, batons and shields)
- Chemical agents (including, but not limited to, tear gas and pepper spray)
- Rubber bullets against any individual peacefully engaging in protest or demonstrations who does not pose a physical threat to the safety of the public or police
- Deploying chemical agents or a sound cannon against persons peacefully engaging in protest or demonstrations without an audible warning and a reasonable amount of time to disperse
- Placing in a chokehold or ramming with a vehicle any individual attending a demonstration
- Tightening the zip ties or handcuffs placed on any individual to the point that the restraints cause physical injury, including loss of circulation or change in color
- Arresting any demonstrators en masse without probable cause.
If plaintiffs seek relief for an alleged violation of the order, the city is required to respond to the motion for relief within 24 hours, according to court documents.