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Rights groups sue over police tactics in Baton Rouge protests

14 July 2016
Rights groups sue over police tactics in Baton Rouge protests

Local justice organisations and the American Civil Liberties Union sued local and state officials and law enforcement agencies in federal court on Wednesday, accusing them of abusing peaceful protesters and violating their constitutional rights.

In their lawsuit, the organizations asked for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting the police from using strong-arm tactics against protesters.

The Baton Rouge Police and Louisiana State Police came under harsh criticism on Sunday after hundreds of people were arrested over the weekend during rallies to protest the police killing of a Alton Sterling, who had been selling bootleg CDs. Police were videotaped using military-style gear and pulling protesters off private property. Several journalists were also arrested.

“This has completely chilled the environment, where communities feel unsafe,” said Sima Atri, a staff lawyer at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. “It’s having a serious effect not only on the First Amendment and the right to protest but also a much broader effect on the movement.”

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Photo: AP Photo/ Max Becherer

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