Santa Monica, CA – The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Santa Monica and its former police chief that claimed the city violated protesters’ rights when it set curfews during the unrest last year.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles federal court on June 28, KABC reported.
Black Lives Matter’s complaint also alleged false arrest, assault, and battery on behalf of more than 300 protesters who claimed they were hit with projectiles filed by Santa Monica police.
The lawsuit claimed that Black Lives Matter protesters were targeted for arrest and then transported to a makeshift jail, KABC reported.
Protesters alleged they were “warned they would be rearrested if they came back to Santa Monica” before they were released in Los Angeles, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint claimed the citywide curfew that was ordered on May 31, 2020, as riots erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd as he was being arrested by Minneapolis police, was only done to stifle political protests against police brutality, according to KABC.
The lawsuit alleged that the rioting and looting and vandalism that occurred in Santa Monica wasn’t connected to the Black Lives Matter protests.
Attorneys for Black Lives Matter said in the suit that Santa Monica police, and other law enforcement agencies who assisted them, were only focused on the protesters, KABC reported.
Police “tried to prevent the peaceful protests by instituting curfew orders on short order to take effect at varying times” on May 31 and June 1, 2020, according to the lawsuit.
Black Lives Matter’s proposed class-action lawsuit named former Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud and 10 as-yet unnamed officials, KABC reported.
Chief Renaud retired in October of 2020.
The complaint alleged that the city’s “policies and failure of policies, including the failure to train its officers in constitutional responses to peaceful demonstrations, caused the unlawful action taken against plaintiffs.”
In the lawsuit, attorneys cited a report by the Office of Independent Review that had determined that Santa Monica police “had no adequate plan, if they had any, to interact with peaceful protesters while responding to individuals and groups engaged in unlawful conduct,” KABC reported.