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Protesters sue NOPD for use of tear gas on Crescent City Connection

The lawsuit claims NOPD gave no warning before they tossed canisters of tear gas into the crowd of hundreds

NEW ORLEANS — Three protesters have filed a lawsuit against NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson over his department’s use of tear gas on the Crescent City Connection to stop protesters on June 3, 2020.

The lawsuit claims police officers “violently attacked hundreds of peaceful demonstrators standing up for racial justice against the tragic death of George Floyd and so many others,” violating their First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The lawsuit also claims NOPD officers gave no warning before they tossed canisters of tear gas into the crowd of hundreds on the elevated highway, leading to a chaotic stampede of people trying to flee to safety.

The lawsuit points to the NOPD response when protesters gathered in support of Confederate monuments in 2017, claiming it shows that New Orleans police do know how to respond to large protests without using force.

Six months after the protest, Chief Ferguson said that a small group of aggressive protesters “provoked” the response by police. Those in the crowd say the protest was peaceful.

Ferguson also said the officers’ actions were a mistake, but that they had no policies in place to dictate how to respond to a large protest and when to use force. He added that there were “a lot” of officers under investigation after the incident on the bridge, but since there were no policies in place there were no policy violations and no disciplinary actions taken.

The lawsuit lists 40 New Orleans Police Department officers and commanders as defendants in addition to Ferguson.

Remintyn Williams, Lauren Chustz and Bilal Ali-Bey are listed as the lead plaintiffs in the case, which they proposed as a class-action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified compensation for their injuries and a declaration that disciplinary action be taken against the officers who they claim violated their constitutional rights.

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