The same week that Joe Biden's Department of Justice moved to keep secret a memo Bill Barr relied upon in deciding to not prosecute Donald Trump, the DOJ also moved to dismiss lawsuits against the former President and his attorney general.
"Lawyers for the Justice Department urged a federal judge on Friday to dismiss lawsuits against former president Donald Trump, former attorney general William P. Barr and other officials for last June's violent clearing of demonstrators from Lafayette Square by U.S. military and police," The Washington Post reported.
"Trump and other U.S. officials are immune from civil lawsuits over police actions taken to protect a president and to secure his movements, government lawyers said of the actions taken ahead of a photo op of Trump holding a Bible in front of the historic St. John's Church. A crowd of more than 1,000 largely peaceful demonstrators were protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis before the park was cleared," the newspaper explained. "A year to the week after Floyd's death, Justice Department lawyers argued that the lawsuits should also be tossed because last November's presidential election made future violations unlikely. The government said the square has been reopened, and President Biden's administration does not share Trump's stated hostility toward Floyd and the racial justice movement."
Trump has repeatedly said he is considering running for president again in 2024.
"The American Civil Liberties Union of D.C., Black Lives Matter, other civil liberties groups and individual protesters accuse Trump and senior officials of driving the June 1 events. Military, federal and local police forcibly cleared the square using batons, clubs, horses, pepper spray, smoke and fired projectiles 30 minutes before a citywide curfew began. Images of violence drew a national backlash against Trump's calls for "overwhelming force" to put down those he called 'THUGS' and domestic terrorists. The nation's top military official later apologized for walking with Trump before television cameras that day," The Post reported.
If the judge agrees with Biden's DOJ, it could result in a dangerous precedent.
"Lawyers for the ACLU said that despite legal precedents, the government's defense would 'authorize brutality with impunity" in the heart of Washington at one of the most symbolic spaces within the seat of the federal government,' the newspaper noted. "If their defense was upheld, U.S. authorities 'could have used live ammunition to clear the park, and nobody would have a claim against that as an assault on their constitutional rights,' said Scott Michelman, legal director for ACLU-D.C."
The Washington Post analyzed hours of video footage, police audio, and other records to assemble a complete account… https://t.co/ozOW4QTXHE— Sarah Cahlan (@Sarah Cahlan) 1591657338.0
Washington Post’s @byaliceli filmed as Secret Service and Park Police pushed protestors up Vermont Avenue. https://t.co/UdkNNv7Qqu— Sarah Cahlan (@Sarah Cahlan) 1591657338.0
This video of officials rushing at protestors on H street was filmed by Denzel Averhart who was there with his room… https://t.co/biywe6miPJ— Sarah Cahlan (@Sarah Cahlan) 1591716454.0