Two US Capitol Police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against former US President Donald Trump that blames him for physical and emotional injuries they sustained during the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
“Trump, by his words and conduct, directed the mob that stormed the Capitol and assaulted and battered James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby,” states the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in US District Court in the District of Columbia.
Both officers, Maryland residents, seek more than $75,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages for emotional and physical injuries.
The suit says these injuries include being sprayed with chemical irritants and being physically crushed and punched by a mob of Trump supporters. Hemby, an 11-year Capitol police veteran, says his head and back injuries require physical therapy and specialised orthopedic care. Both men also cite lasting emotional trauma, including from the deaths of fellow officers ― one who died soon after the assault and two by suicide.
Blassingame, a 17-year veteran, says he was subjected to racist attacks by members of the mob.
“For the first time in his life, people were yelling into his face, calling him a ‘nigger’ repeatedly and throughout the attack in the Crypt,” the lawsuit says. “He lost count of the many times the racial slur was hurled at him.”
The lawsuit lays the blame on Trump by outlining the then-president’s efforts to deny and overturn Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump repeatedly told his supporters on Twitter and elsewhere that ballots had been tossed out and fraudulently cast for his opponent, though there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.
Trump convinced his followers that he was about to be forced out of the White House because of this fraud “and that the convening of Congress on January 6 to count the Electoral College results and declare the winner was their last chance to ‘stop the steal,’” the complaint states.
The suit highlights Trump’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 prior to the riot that claimed the election had been “rigged” and “stolen.”
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told his supporters.
Trump has denied responsibility for the attack. His attorneys argued during his impeachment trial that Trump’s January 6 speech is protected by the First Amendment.
A Trump representative did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Wednesday.
Trump’s role in the riot also is subject of a criminal investigation by the US attorney in Washington.