19:32 GMT19 April 2021
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    The storming of the Capitol by supporters of former US President Donald Trump prompted the arrests of hundreds of loyalists who violently broke past security barriers, and attacked multiple officers stationed at the federal building. The January 6 event claimed the lives of at least five individuals, including law enforcement officials.

    Two individuals enlisted in the US Capitol Police recently filed a lawsuit against Trump, accusing the former commander-in-chief of encouraging thousands of his supporters to overrun the Capitol while lawmakers worked to confirm the results of the 2020 election.

    The lawsuit, which was filed in Washington, DC on Tuesday by Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, marks the first time that a legal complaint has been filed against Trump by law enforcement officials. Blassingame has worked as a Capitol Police officer for 17 years, whereas Hemby has been on the force for 11 years.

    “Both United States Capitol Police Officers reported for duty on January 6, 2021, without any suspicion that they would soon become the targets of Trump’s followers,” the suit reads. 

    The legal complaint explains that Trump’s supporters carried out the attack over their belief that storming the Capitol was their last chance to stop the former president from being booted out of the White House.

    “The insurrectionist mob, which Trump had inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted, forced its way over and past the plaintiffs and their fellow officers, pursuing and attacking them inside and outside the United States Capitol, and causing the injuries complained of herein,” the lawsuit reads.
    Screenshot captures an unidentified individual who participated in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol. The individual is wanted by federal authorities fo assaulting law enforcement officials.
    Screenshot/FBI
    Screenshot captures an unidentified individual who participated in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol. The individual is wanted by federal authorities fo assaulting law enforcement officials.

    Blassingame suffered injuries to his head and back as the events unfolded at the building, and has since experienced back pain, insomnia and depression, the lawsuit describes, adding that the officer saw rioters using their firsts and others weapons such as flagpoles, water bottles and directional signs to attack authorities.

    The officer, who is Black, also noted in the filing that he lost count of how many times members of the violent crowd used racial slurs against him.

    “He is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts – the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface,” the lawsuit notes. “He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not.”

    As for Hemby, he remains under physical therapy after having suffered neck and back injuries, and has “struggled to manage the emotional fallout from being relentlessly attacked,” according to the suit.

    In the aftermath of the insurrection, Gus Papathanasiou, who serves as the chairman of the US Capitol Police Labor Committee, revealed that about 140 officers with the Capitol and Metropolitan Police departments had sustained injuries during the riot. 

    Those injuries ranged from minor bruises to burns, rib fractures and concussions. Officials also indicated a case of a mild heart attack was also reported. It was later revealed that one officer, Brain Sicknick, died later that night after succumbing to his injuries. In the days that followed, reports surfaced that two officers had committed suicide after the riot.

    Both Blassingame and Hemby are each seeking compensatory damages of at least $75,000, along with undisclosed punitive damages from Trump. 

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    Tags:
    US Capitol Police (USCP), Lawsuit, Riot, US Capitol
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