Federal Judge Dismisses City’s Countersuit Against Detroit Will Breathe

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Image credit: Russ McNamara

Group plans to continue with its civil rights lawsuit, says one of the leaders of the activist organization.

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A lawsuit filed by the City of Detroit against anti-police brutality protesters has been thrown out by a federal court judge. 

The group Detroit Will Breathe filed suit against the City after several protesters were injured by police during a peaceful demonstration in late August. The City of Detroit countersued, claiming the group constituted a “civil conspiracy.” 

Judge Laurie J. Michelson says the city failed to “state a claim for civil conspiracy,” according to the motion. 

There just wasn’t any evidence that we committed any crimes or that we did anything other than challenge the policies and practices of the Detroit Police Department.” —Nakia Wallace, Detroit Will Breathe

Nakia Wallace, one of the leaders of Detroit Will Breathe, says the dismissal wasn’t a surprise and that the group will continue with its civil rights lawsuit.  

We are still pursuing our lawsuit though and with full intentions to hold the city of Detroit and the police department and the mayor and the police chief and these individual officers accountable for the harm that they caused.” 

Wallce says this situation is similar to how hundreds of protesters had charges against them dropped by prosecutors. 

There just wasn’t any evidence that we committed any crimes or that we did anything other than challenge the policies and practices of the Detroit Police Department.” 

In a statement, Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia says the city is disappointed in the ruling but accepts it. 

In Detroit last summer, several protesters and observers were injured by police during peaceful demonstrations, prompting the federal civil rights lawsuit against the city by multiple members of Detroit Will Breathe. A judge issued a restraining order afterward barring city police from using chokeholds and rubber bullets against protesters. Attorneys for the city followed that decision with its own lawsuit. 

As city prosecutors failed to provide certain evidence in court, judges began dismissing cases and hundreds of protesters had their charges dismissed. Only a handful of cases remain.   

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Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.

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