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ACLU agrees to drop injunctive claims in federal lawsuit after finding common ground with City

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the City of Fort Wayne that claimed breaches of the First and...
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the City of Fort Wayne that claimed breaches of the First and Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights of people at the Black Lives Matter protests the weekend of May 29 and later in June.(WPTA)
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 3:43 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The ACLU and the individuals who signed on to sue the City of Fort Wayne after the Spring 2020 protests have come to an understanding with the defendants and will drop their injunctive claims, officials said on Thursday.

The agreement brings to an end litigation filed just weeks after protesters and police clashed in several days of demonstrations related to the death of George Floyd.

The suit alleged that Fort Wayne police violated the rights of demonstrators and used unnecessary force to disperse crowds.

One individual lost an eye when he was allegedly struck by a projectile fired by an officer.

Since the case was introduced in the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana, the parties have held several meetings in the presence of a mediator.

Those sessions led to a finding of common ground on certain matters, including:

  • That individuals may engage in non-violent protest, including gatherings in parks, on sidewalks and in streets that have been closed to traffic in coordination with City departments
  • That unlawful actions by demonstrators may require action by the police department, including the establishment of an emergency incident area and declaration of an unlawful assembly
  • That police will limit the implementation of such a declaration to specific areas and, “absent an emergency... make reasonable attempts to notify persons within the area to leave and the routes that they should take”
  • That the “use of any chemical agent... is a use of force and that its use must be reasonable”
  • That “consistent with existing policies, FWPD will not fire impact munitions indiscriminately into crowds”

The agreement to terminate legal proceedings does not amount to an admission by the City that it violated any policies, State or Federal laws, the document notes.

The ACLU tells Fort Wayne’s NBC the agreement does not mean the City won’t be held responsible for damages. That part of the matter has not been settled, a representative said.

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