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ACLU, Indy10 Black Lives Matter file lawsuit against use of chemical weapons during protests

The American Civil Liberties Union and Indy10 Black Lives Matter have filed a lawsuit against the city to ban the use of "chemical weapons" during protests.
Protesters gather at Delaware and Market streets in downtown Indy's in response to the office-involved fatal shooting of 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed. (WTHR/Ben Reiff)

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Civil Liberties Union and Indy10 Black Lives Matter have filed a lawsuit against the city to ban the use of "chemical weapons" during protests.

“Excessive use of force against protesters chills free speech, and widens the rift of distrust between communities and the police that are sworn to serve them,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana. “Indianapolis should instead listen to demonstrators, build community trust, and transform policing and the criminal legal system.”

In recent weeks, IMPD has used tear gas and other weapons on those protesting police brutality in downtown Indianapolis.   

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Indy 10 Black Lives Matter and protesters. 

“City leadership must commit to no further harm being done to demonstrators, and to ban the use of excessive force, including pepper pellets, tear gas and flashbang grenades, as well as condemn and discipline officers who destroy demonstrator’s medical supplies," Indy10 Black Lives Matter said. "The onus for repairing harm is on city leadership and IMPD, and they would do well to lending their efforts towards policy reform and addressing the use of force policies as well as holding officer’s accountable.”  

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, joins several other legal actions taken by the ACLU in "response escalating law enforcement attacks on journalists and protesters, including suing President Trump and other administration officials for firing of tear gas on protesters outside the White House on June 1."