ACLU sues City of Fort Wayne, Allen County Sheriff for use of tear gas during protests
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit against the City of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Sheriff demanding officers stop using tear gas and firing rubber bullets at protesters.
It argues that the use of chemical agents and projectiles for crowd control violates the First and Fourth Amendments.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction and damages.
“Police must not respond to protesters speaking out against police brutality with yet more brutality. We will not let these violent attacks on our constitutional rights go unchecked,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana.
“Excessive use of force against protesters chills free speech, and widens the rift of distrust between communities and the police that are sworn to serve them.”
The ACLU is also suing the Indianapolis Police Department who also used tear gas on protesters.
In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters have taken to the streets to speak out against police brutality.
The police officers have since been charged in the man’s death.
In Fort Wayne, protesters clashed with police on the weekend of May 29, but have since remained peaceful.
That weekend, officers dressed in riot gear fired tear gas at protesters in the street, sprayed pepper spray, fired rubber bullets, and used other less-than-lethal means on protesters.
Some businesses sustained damage -- mostly broken windows and graffiti.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said he stands by the Fort Wayne Police Department and their actions.
The mayor has since announced a plan to address racial justice and police reform in the city.
A man who was taking part in downtown demonstrations that led to clashes with police lost his eye after being struck in the face by a projectile gas canister.
Fort Wayne Police said the injury was incidental and not the result of a deliberate attempt to injure the man.
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