In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, over a dozen plaintiffs say their constitutional rights were violated during the protests when police blocked entry points into the District.
They specifically claimed that D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department “formed the blockades for the sole purpose of preventing American citizens from entering our nation’s capital to exercise their constitutionally protected right to free speech,” resulting in the death of two people who crashed their vehicles into the blockades.
The Hill has reached out to the District of Columbia and the plaintiff’s attorney for comment.
The group, known as the “People’s Convoy,” was inspired by similar protests against COVID-19 requirements in Canada. That movement shut down parts of Ottawa for days and only ended when the National Emergencies Act was invoked to clear out protesters in the zone.
In the U.S, Capitol police issued an emergency declaration and the Pentagon extended National Guard support in response to the protest as several hundred trucks circled the capital earlier this year.
While the protests were in response to COVID-19 policies and restrictions, most pandemic restrictions were already being lifted across the nation, including in D.C., as the convoy arrived.