WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against former President Donald Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and other officials over the forceful pushing back of peaceful protesters at a White House demonstration last year, the Washington Post reported.
Trump and other U.S. officials should be considered immune from civil lawsuits over police actions taken to protect a president and to secure his movements, the Justice Department lawyers said, according to the Post.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups over the treatment of protesters at a demonstration against racism and police brutality on June 1, 2020, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
President Joe Biden’s administration sought its dismissal. Trump left office in January.
Federal agents on horseback used tear gas to clear the protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House. The sweep allowed Trump to stage a photo opportunity at a nearby church in which he held up a copy of the Bible. A fire set during earlier protests had caused minor damage at the church.
The lawsuit sought an order declaring that Trump, Barr and other officials violated the constitutional rights of the demonstrators.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Will Dunham)