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Bay Area Trump rally attendees sue San Jose, Mayor, Police Chief



Protesters gather outside San Jose Convention Center as presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in San Jose on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Protesters gather outside San Jose Convention Center as presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in San Jose on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fourteen people who attending a Donald Trump rally in San Jose last month have filed a class-action lawsuit against the city, alleging city leaders failed to properly protect them from the assault of protestors as they were leaving the event.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday. Harmeet K. Dhillon, the plaintiffs’ attorney, is also the vice chair of the California Republican Party.

“Law-abiding citizens leaving the Trump rally were victimized by being forced by armed police to walk into a riot in full swing where many were assaulted while police looked on,” Dhillon said.

Dhillon says her clients in the class-action suit range from a 14-year-old who was allegedly assaulted by two different individuals and denied assistance by the San Jose Fire Department, to a 71-year-old woman who said her glasses were ripped from her face and destroyed by three of the event’s protestors. The lawsuit also names a handful of alleged assailants and 38 unknown rioters, and says the city’s failure to restrain the protestors opposed and violated Trump supporters’ rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.

It seeks compensation and injunctive relief for injuries they suffered during the rally. City Attorney Rick Doyle said Thursday the city hasn’t yet been served with the lawsuit.

“I really can’t comment until we have a chance to review it,” Doyle said, “but from what I know, the police did everything they could.”

After his appearance at the June 2 rally in the McEnery Convention Center downtown, violence broke out as Trump supporters exited. Police tried to separate the groups but drew criticism for not being more aggressive in stopping assaults or arresting violent protesters. Police said there are 24 reported victims, as many suspects identified, and that they have made 22 arrests.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, named in the suit himself, issued the following statement the morning after the June 2 rally: “While it’s a sad statement about our political discourse that Mr. Trump has focused on stirring antagonism instead of offering real solutions to our nation’s challenges, there is absolutely no place for violence against people who are simply exercising their rights to participate in the political process.”

Dhillon says her clients should not be made to feel their lives were at risk at a political event, or that their rights are “somehow less important” because their political views might be deemed unpopular. She further alleged that the failure to act by police “was colored by political viewpoint considerations.”

Liccardo, who publicly backs presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, is accused in the lawsuit of ordering officers to stand down as the Trump supporters were being attacked. Police chief Eddie Garcia has called the accusation “absurd,” adding that Liccardo called him the night of the event, but gave no instructions on how to police the rally.

“I have a lot of control over my officers, but my officers do not know the meaning of the term stand down,” Garcia said at the time. “They would not follow that order nor would I ever expect them to.”

Liccardo said himself has no authority to issue such an order.

“The ludicrous accusation that I somehow directed the police department to ‘stand down’ at the rally is utterly false,” he said in a statement.

Harmeet Dhillion is the Vice Chair of the California Republican Party and serves on the rules committee for the Republican National Committee.


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