INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Protesters who were met with tear gas and other weapons by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department while demonstrating against police brutality sued the city Thursday to halt the use of the chemical agents and projectiles.
The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Indy10 Black Lives Matter and individual protesters by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. It argues that the use of chemical agents and projectiles for crowd control violates the First Amendment.
IMPD has used tear gas and pepper balls against protesters during several demonstrations following the shooting death of a black man, Dreasjon Reed, by an Indianapolis police officer and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“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,” Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana, said in a statement.
“City leadership must commit to no further harm being done to demonstrators, and to ban the use of excessive force, including pepper pellets, tear gas and flashbang grenades," Indy10 Black Lives Matter said in a statement.
The city's Office of Corporation Counsel declined to comment on the lawsuit.