Trump defends Capitol rioters saying they posed ‘zero threat’

Two Capitol police officers to sue Trump for inciting riot and ‘severe emotional toll’

First members of law enforcement to file complaint cite physical and emotional trauma from insurrection

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 31 March 2021 12:08
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Two Capitol Police officers are suing Donald Trump for injuries sustained in January’s riot.

James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, both from the Capitol Police Department, are the first officers to sue the one-term president for inciting the insurrection, CNN reported.

The two officers alleged on Tuesday that Mr Trump "inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted" the mob that stormed the US Capitol building on 6 January.

They also both suffered from physical and emotional trauma sustained in the riot, which led to the death of a colleague, officer Brian Sicknick, and four others on the day.

Mr Hemby, a veteran of 11 years, "was crushed against the doors" of the Capitol, according to the complaint, and was "sprayed with chemicals" and bled from his face.

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Mr Blassingame, a veteran of 17 years, came under attack from "weapons that ranged from flagpoles to stanchions and building directional signs, water bottles and other objects".

The complaint described the officer as being temporarily "unable to move” from the injuries, while racial slurs were also aimed at him throughout the ordeal.

The complaint also describes the terror Capitol police officers faced, which was causing Mr Blassingame to suffer from depression and a "severe emotional toll” following the insurrection, according to Newsweek.

"He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not,” the complaint states.

Both men, who accuse Mr Trump of causing them physical and emotional trauma and for inciting the attack, are seeking at least $75,000 (£54,000) in damages.

Critics of Mr Trump continue to allege that he was to blame for the storming of Congress after a second impeachment trial — that failed to convict.

Tuesday’s complaint said crowds "were spurred on by Trump's conduct over many months”, which featured false claims of election fraud.

He claimed last week that the rioters, hundreds of whom were afterwards arrested by the FBI, posed "zero threat" and were "hugging and kissing the police" at the Capitol as they went inside.

The Independent has approached Mr Trump for comment.

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