A US Capitol police car drives past the US Capitol in Washington, USA on January 26, 2021.
Al Drago | Reuters
Two US Capitol police officers have sued Donald Trump for “physical and emotional injuries” sustained when a group of former President’s supporters invaded the Capitol on January 6th.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday said Trump “ignited, encouraged, instigated, directed, supported and aided” the rioters who broke into the building, forcing a joint session of Congress to go into hiding and resulting in five deaths.
The complaint by officers Sidney Hemby and James Blassingame, who have been on duty for 11 and 17 years respectively, said Trump’s behavior “resulted in injuries to US Capitol and Metropolitan Police Department officers,” including himself self.
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Blassingame “suffered head and back injuries” and continues to be “haunted” by the attack, the complaint said. Hemby’s left hand and knee were swollen and painful after the riot. According to legal proceedings, he is given neck and back physiotherapy up to three days a week.
The officials are each demanding more than $ 75,000 in damages, according to their lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington. Hemby and Blassingame are the first officers to complain about the invasion.
They are also calling for punitive damages against Trump “to punish him for his willful, wanton and reckless behavior and to prevent others from engaging in similar behavior,” the complaint said.
A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on the lawsuit.
Trump was charged in the House of Representatives with an article on “incitement to insurrection,” but he was acquitted in the Senate, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. His defense team in the Senate trial had argued that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric at a rally in front of the White House on January 6th could not be viewed as incitement to violence or insurrection.
But Hemby and Blassingame’s 40-page complaint directly links Trump’s pre-insurrection speech, in which he told his supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol, with the violence that followed.
“As he made these remarks, Trump’s followers on the Ellipse began singing ‘Fight like Hell’ and ‘Fight for Trump’. After he was done, they switched to ‘Storm the Capitol’, ‘Invade the Capitol Building’ and ‘ Take the Capitol now, “said the complaint.
“When Trump finished his speech near the White House, his supporters who were already in the Capitol became insurgents,” it said.
The complaint said that Hemby and Blassingame were followed by the crowd, beaten, sprayed with chemicals and pushed against the doors of the Capitol.
“Officer Hemby was attacked relentlessly,” the lawsuit alleged. “He was bleeding from a cut less than an inch from his eye. He had cuts and grazes on his face and hands, and his body was pressed against a large metal door to ward off attacks.”
Near the Capitol’s crypt, below the rotunda, rioters “threw objects and hit Officer Blassingame and the other USCP officers with their fists and weapons,” the complaint said.
“A violent wave of insurgents pushed forward and hit Officer Blassingame against a stone pillar. He hit the back and the back of the head and couldn’t move,” it said.
The lawsuit alleges that rioters used the N-word to shout at blowgames “throughout the attack” to the point where he “lost the number of times the racial fraud was hurled at him”.
The complaint also notes that the then Republican legislature, as well as some of the many people arrested in connection with the invasion, attributed the instigating of the insurrection to Trump.