A federal judge has denied the request to identify officers who forcibly cleared racial justice protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House on June 1 in a lawsuit.
US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the identities of the officers can remain secret for now, saying that the timing of the request is “unusually early.”
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of DC, Black Lives Matter DC, and other groups, against the Donald Trump administration, after demonstrators protesting the police killing of George Floyd in the area were dispersed with the use of rubber bullets and chemical agents ahead of the president’s walk towards a nearby church for a photo op.
The plaintiffs accuse President Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and a number of other federal officials of violating the protesters’ constitutional rights and engaging in an unlawful conspiracy to violate those rights while they were demonstrating against police brutality.
The judge cited no preliminary injunction being pending and that the plaintiffs made the request “immediately after filing their Second Amended Complaint” and “prior to the defendants having any opportunity to answer any of their complaints or to file any motions to dismiss—and therefore ‘well in advance of typical discovery.’”
The plaintiffs also requested the lists of officers equipped with certain weapons at the scene and the lists of officers who used or discharged such weapons during the incident.
According to the judge, “provision of this sort of highly sensitive law enforcement information implicates core institutional interests of the organizations affected as well as substantial privacy interests of the individual officers who are the subjects of the requests, and would therefore almost certainly require a protective order.”