CHARLOTTE — Dozens of protesters filed a lawsuit last year against the city of Charlotte over the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s use of force tactics used during protests in the summer of 2020.
New documents, though, show that the city’s defense attorney is pushing back, asking to dismiss the suit.
During protests in uptown Charlotte on June 2, 2020, demonstrators said CMPD officers trapped and tear-gassed them. The tactic is called “kettling” and had already prompted another lawsuit against the city and the police department.
Earlier this year, as part of a settlement with the NAACP over the incident, CMPD agreed to stop using tear gas for crowd control and to make sure protesters have escape routes if needed.
But in the class-action lawsuit involving more than 50 demonstrators, the city is claiming immunity -- which is a legal process protecting government officials and police officers -- against legal action.
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“Defendants assert the defense of governmental immunity to the extent allowed by the law,” according to the city’s response. It covers the defendants, which include the city, CMPS, Chief Johnny Jennings and individual officers.
“… They were contributorily negligent and caused or contributed to any damages or injuries suffered,” the documents state.
The documents go on to say that protesters themselves were negligent, leading some of them to be hurt when CMPD officers tried to break up the crowd.
“Defendants specifically deny CMPD used force, including chemical munitions in response and in an effort to abridge, retaliate and punish protesters for criticizing law enforcement,” the response says.
The response also claims that CMPD did not respond with force and chemicals to retaliate against protesters for criticizing law enforcement after the death of George Floyd.
Attorneys for the more than 50 protesters told Channel 9 they are a ways off from coming to a resolution but they are seeking millions of dollars in damages.
(WATCH BELOW: Protesters hit the streets after CMPD released body cam video of kettling incident)
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