Protesters sue Seattle and state over police response

A group of protesters filed a new lawsuit Friday against the City of Seattle and the State of Washington over how the government responded to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

The suit alleges police broke the law and engaged in discrimination and brutality, the very thing the protests were about.

The 100-page lawsuit alleges unconstitutional restraints on free speech, negligence, false imprisonment and, in the case of Summer Taylor, wrongful death.

Taylor was struck by a vehicle and killed while she was protesting on I-5.

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The freeway was closed for the protest, but attorneys say there was no barrier keeping a wrong way driver from finding his way on, and hitting Taylor.

“We stand here today because that should not have happened and it was the government’s fault,” said attorney Karen Koehler.

The protest also detailed the use of crowd control weapons by police, and protester injuries.

“We were attacked,” said Abie Ekenezar, a Navy veteran who joined the protest. “Flash bangs fell over my head and I felt like I was back in Afghanistan again.”

The lawsuit is being filed with ten plaintiffs, but around 50 people are expected to eventually join, once they complete their 60-day claim period before suing the state.

“This lawsuit is brought on behalf of peaceful protesters,” Koehler said. “These protesters did not attack the police, they did not commit violence, they did not loot. They are like 99 percent of the protesters who have tried to protest on behalf of Black Lives Matter.”

In response to the lawsuit, Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, wrote, “We intend to investigate these alleged claims and will defend the City in this matter.”