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Black Lives Matter activists sue over crackdown outside LA mayor’s home

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Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activists have sued the city over the police department’s response to protests outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s (D) home in December 2020. 

The activists, who opposed Garcetti’s appointment to a possible role in President Biden’s Cabinet, were peacefully protesting when they claim Los Angeles Police Department officers assaulted them and violated their rights, according to The Los Angeles Times

The lawsuit said about 50 people were “struck by batons or knocked down by LAPD officers.” It specifically accuses the officers of assault and battery as well as of violating protesters’ rights using threats, intimidation and unreasonable force, the Times reported. 

“Shoving and swinging batons, LAPD officers rushed at and knocked down peaceful protesters assembled in front of the Mayor’s mansion and then brutally beat them with batons, including head strikes, causing serious injuries,” the lawsuit said.

The activists noted that the only justification for such action was one demonstrator who had a bullhorn and was violating a noise ordinance. 

“There were children there at the time, there were elderly people there at the time, and [the police] overreacted,” Greg Akili, who is a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said to the Times. 

Prior to the incident that prompted the lawsuit, protesters had gathered outside of Garcetti’s home for more than a week without major problems.

“It had always been peaceful,” Akili told the Times. “It may have been loud, but it was always peaceful.”

Ultimately, Garcetti was offered a job as ambassador to India, not a Cabinet position. While he must still appear before the Senate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced him for that role on Wednesday

Separately, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles is also litigating another class-action case regarding police officers’ treatment of protesters in May and June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, the Times added.

The Hill has reached out to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the LAPD for comment.

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