On Wednesday, a federal judge green-lighted a lawsuit by Donald Trump supporters who were brutalized by an anti-Trump mob at a campaign rally in San Jose last June.
Judge Lucy Koh refused to throw out the Trump supporters' lawsuit against the city and individual police officers for failing to protect them from violent rioters, who at times were attacking the Trump fans right in front of officers. In what the lawsuit portrays as the result of a general stand-down order, San Jose police did not come to the aid of citizens being attacked and even appeared to funnel Trump fans into the violent mob.
When the lawsuit was first filed last year, Mayor Sam Liccardo dismissed it, insisting, "The notion that there was some stand-down order is ridiculous."
City Attorney Rick Doyle also made clear he believes the brutalized Trump fans have no case, maintaining that the San Jose PD was caught in a difficult situation when the riots got out of control. The real culprit, claimed Doyle, is Donald Trump. "Unfortunately, Mr. Trump hung around after the event to meet with the VIPs," Doyle told The Mercury News, "and the Secret Service wouldn't allow anyone in that area. I think we'll sort that out in deposition."
Judge Koh apparently did not agree with Liccardo and Doyle, allowing the claims against the city and individual officers to move forward, though dismissing claims against Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
As Twitchy highlights, the San Jose Police Department, which eventually made four arrests, released a statement explaining why they did not act to protect some citizens at the June 2 rally:
"While several physical assaults did occur, the police personnel on scene had the difficult task of weighing the need to immediately apprehend the suspects against the possibility that police action involving the use of physical force under the circumstances would further [incite] the crowd and produce more violent behavior."
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who is representing some of the victims pro bono, recently spoke with LifeZette about the significance of the case.
"Citizens ranging from their teens to their 70s were assaulted, abused, chased, hunted, and terrorized in a situation for which the city is responsible, and must now answer. This lawsuit seeks to vindicate the principle that every American — regardless of his or her political beliefs — is entitled to equal protection of the laws, and to the rights of free speech and free assembly, particularly in the support of their candidate of choice," said Dhillon.
"San Jose has had two opportunities to dismiss this case, and now must defend the indefensible: its 250-plus police officers' utter inaction in the face of a violent mob riot they forced Trump supporters to walk through," said Dhillon. "San Jose violated these constitutional rights and the public trust, and we hope to make sure, through this civil rights case, that this travesty is never repeated."
After the first federal civil rights complaint was filed in July, the city has been attempting to get the case dismissed, but Dhillon's firm has been fighting to keep the case moving forward, notching a major victory Wednesday, though the firm has amassed significant fees for its efforts for which it has set up a GoFundMe account for help.
LifeZette notes that Dhillon is a candidate to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and a Sikh-American, born in India. "Her experiences witnessing hate crimes against Sikhs led her to believe that if civil rights laws are on the books, conservatives and Republicans must use them in court if they encounter violence and suppression of their constitutional rights."