The ACLU of Indiana sued the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and the Fort Wayne Police Department in federal court Friday for their use of tear gas and other weapons during recent protests in downtown Fort Wayne.
A similar lawsuit was filed against police in Marion County and Indianapolis. The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction to prevent the further use of these weapons.
According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, on May 29 and 30, police responded to peaceful protests around the Allen County Courthouse using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and other less-than-lethal weapons that can cause injury.
The plaintiffs, which include one charged with misdemeanors in connection with the protests, accuse city and county police of using unnecessary and unreasonable force.
Because officials have not admitted the use of these devices on those present at the protests, including children, nor have officials promised not to use them again in the future, individuals are being discouraged from exercising their rights to protest, according to the lawsuit.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs are also asking for a preliminary injunction by the court, preventing further use of these devices at future protests.
Messages seeking comment from both the FWPD and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department have not yet been returned Friday afternoon.