Detroit is countersuing Black Lives Matter protesters for ‘civil conspiracy’

The Washington Examiner:

The city of Detroit is suing Black Lives Matter protesters after a group of organizers sued the local government.

Detroit’s suit alleges that demonstrators who participated in the racial justice protests this summer were a part of a “civil conspiracy” in which they attempted “to disturb the peace, engage in disorderly conduct, incite riots, destroy public property,” and resist police orders, among other “illegal acts.” The suit was filed in September, about a month after activists filed their own suit, alleging Detroit police officers “repeatedly responded with violence,” according to the Intercept.

The city has accused the protesters of defaming police officers, although the city isn’t suing for defamation outright.

It also claims the protesters, specifically the umbrella collective, Detroit Will Breathe, shouldn’t be considered as protected under the First Amendment because “the protests in Detroit have repeatedly turned violent, endangering the lives of police and the public.” The city has pointed to officers injured during protests to support this claim, which it says include “cracked vertebrae, lacerations, and concussions,” however, the city does not specify how each injury occurred or who injured them.

The filings allege multiple times that demonstrators were “destroying and defacing public property,” however only two examples are given, a broken police car window and a spray-painted statue.

Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig, who was named as a defendant in the protesters’ suit, has called the demonstrators “criminals” and “misguided radicals” who “incite violence.” He has also accused the group of being “coordinated,” “planned,” and “financed” by “a Marxist ideology” trying to “undermine our government as we know it,” in an interview with Fox & Friends in September.

The protesters’ original lawsuit included detailed allegations and led a judge to grant a temporary order designed to limit police officers’ use of force “including the use of striking weapons, chemical agents, and rubber bullets against demonstrators, medical support personnel, and legal observers.”

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