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Case Name Buchanan v. Trump PN-DC-0015
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01542 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Policing
Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Police Violence Protests (Spring/Summer 2020)
Case Summary
This lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 11, 2020. The suit was in response to President Trump's June 1, 2020, decision to use chemical weapons against peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square Park, protesting the police killing of George Floyd. In ... read more >
This lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 11, 2020. The suit was in response to President Trump's June 1, 2020, decision to use chemical weapons against peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square Park, protesting the police killing of George Floyd. In order to clear the path for President Trump to walk to St. John's Church, the military and military police used tear gas, pepper balls, pepper spray, and other weapons to disperse the peaceful protesters.

Plaintiffs were three protesters in Lafayette Square on June 1st, 2020. They were represented by attorneys from a private law firm. Defendants were President Trump, Attorney General Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and various other leaders of federal agencies allegedly involved in the attack.

Plaintiffs argued that the President's actions violated their First Amendment rights by retaliating against expressive conduct, violating their peaceful assembly rights, restricting their right to a traditional public forum, and also engaging in viewpoint discrimination. They alleged that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the attack represented an illegal seizure. They also said their Fifth Amendment rights were violated in that the attack constituted excessive force violative of Due Process. They also included a Bivens claim and sued under the Posse Comitatus Act, which limits the capabilities of the President to use the military for domestic purposes. Plaintiffs requested injunctive relief, declaratory relief, monetary damages (including punitive damages), and attorneys' fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Dabney L. Friedrich.

On August 19 2020, Judge Friedrich ordered the parties in this case and Black Lives Matter 5280 v. City and County of Denver to propose a consolidated briefing schedule or to explain why briefing should not be consolidated given the similar factual and legal questions in each case. The parties agreed that briefing on the motion to dismiss should proceed on the same schedule. However, the federal defendants reserved the right to seek modification to the briefing schedule because the plaintiffs indicated that they would be seeking leave to file an amended complaint.

The plaintiffs then sought leave to file an amended complaint and the Court granted leave on September 3, 2020. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs added several defendants, including the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Chief of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, numerous Metropolitan Police Department officers, officials from the United States Park Police, and officers from the Arlington County Police Department. The factual allegations, causes of actions, and sought after relief remained largely the same.

Each group of defendants proceeded to file motions to dismiss the claims asserted against them. On October 1, 2020, Attorney General William Barr and Acting Chief of the Park Police Gregory Monahan moved to dismiss the claims against them in their individual capacities. The same day, the United States filed a motion to dismiss the claims asserted against the federal defendants in their official capacities. The Arlington County Defendants also filed a motion to dismiss on October 2, 2020. Later on, on December 2, 2020, the Metropolitan Police Department defendants also filed a motion to dismiss.

On June 21, 2021, the court granted in part and denied in part these motions to dismiss. All of the claims were dismissed except for a First Amendment claim against federal defendants seeking an injunction against restricted access to Lafayette Park, and First Amendment claims based on restriction of speech and retaliation against individual defendants seeking damages

The case remains ongoing.

Jack Hibbard - 07/20/2020
Emily Kempa - 01/02/2021
Justin Hill - 09/02/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to train
Pepper/OC spray
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) Acting Chief Gregory Monahan
Attorney General William Barr
Chief of Metropolitan Police Department of District of Columbia
Commanding General William J. Walker
Director James Murray
Director Michael Carvajal
Officer of Arlington County Police Department
President Donald Trump
Secretary Mark Esper
Plaintiff Description Three protesters who were at Lafayette Square Park at the time of the attack
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/11/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-DC-0014 : Black Lives Matter D.C. v. Trump (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0018 : Roth v. Trump; Kavanagh v. Trump (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
08/25/2021
1:20-cv-01542-DLF
PN-DC-0015-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
06/11/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-DC-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/03/2020
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 29]
PN-DC-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/25/2021
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 72]
PN-DC-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Friedrich, Dabney Langhorne (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0003 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aiken, Matthew Guicen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Champion, Anne Marie (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Crain, Lee Ross (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Denerstein, Mylan Lee (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Farrell, Naima L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
LeSavage, Amanda (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Marquart, Katherine Michelle (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Mastro, Randy M (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
McKenzie, Anna M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001
Raia, Brittany (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0002
Snyder, Orin Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0001 | PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Williams, Greta (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-0002 | PN-DC-0015-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barr, William P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Bartolotto, James George (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Blackman, Duane Gordon (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Corr, MinhChau Nguyen (Virginia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Hair, Christopher Charles (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Heath, Brendan Russell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Mahard, Sean Patrick (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Samuel, Ryan Carson (Virginia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Sobiecki, Richard P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000
Whitman, Sarah Elisabeth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0015-9000

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