Members with the National Lawyers Guild on Friday announced the group is taking legal action against the Sacramento Police Department and others following arrests made during a Stephon Clark protest earlier this month.
After District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not bring charges against the officers who killed Stephon Clark, activists took to the streets in East Sacramento. The protest ended when 84 people were arrested, including clergy, a journalist, and legal observers.
"We're going for in federal court for violation of First Amendment, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, as well as the Fourth Amendment, which is a violation the right not to be seized and arrested," said attorney Mark Merin. He says even though Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert refused to press charges against the protestors, the arrests remain on their record.
State Hornet journalist William Coburn was among those arrested that night. He is the lead plaintiff in the case.
"Whenever the First Amendment is under attack we kind of have to stand up and defend it," Coburn told KFBK. "We have to make the case this is why we have the First Amendment."
Merin said tort claims have been filed against the state, the county, the City of Sacramento, and the law enforcement agencies who responded to the protest for violations of civil and constitutional rights.