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ACLU Sues Baton Rouge Police Department

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Group alleges police unfairly arrested, assaulted protesters during demonstrations.

Louisiana state police and Baton Rouge law enforcement officials are being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and four other social justice groups for violating the constitutional rights of protesters over the past week.

“This exercise of constitutional rights has been met with a military-grade assault on protesters’ bodies and rights,” reads the lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

The plaintiffs are asking a Baton Rouge court for an immediate temporary restraining order against the state police, Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies and the parish district attorney.

The order would place restrictions on how protesters can be scattered and detained during future demonstrations.

Demonstrators have criticized police for wearing full riot gear and detaining some leaders of the protests. The lawsuit claims that the arrests interfered with the protesters’ constitutional rights. Plaintiffs also say protesters were verbally and physically abused.

The Times-Picayune reports that officers say they made arrests after some protesters threw large pieces of concrete at them Sunday. Officials also said they only put on riot gear after uncovering a plot where four people broke into a pawn shop seeking guns they planned to use to attack officers.

“This group was certainly not about a peaceful protest,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the state police. He was referring to more than 100 protesters arrested Sunday night.

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