Justices: Suit by Trump backers against San Jose police can proceed


SACRAMENTO — A federal appeals court on Friday allowed supporters of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to proceed with a lawsuit alleging they were beaten after San Jose police steered them into a crowd of anti-Trump protesters.

Police and the city of San Jose can’t claim that officers have immunity from being sued in the aftermath of the June 2016 confrontation outside a Trump campaign rally, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Nineteen Trump supporters sued the city and individual police, alleging that officers guided them into a violent protest, barred them from finding a safer way out and then stood by while protesters assaulted them.

The justices said the Trump supporters “have alleged sufficiently that the Officers increased the danger to them,” and that the police acted with “deliberate indifference to that danger.”

The supporters are represented by lawyer and Republican Party official Harmeet Dhillon.

San Jose City Attorney Richard Doyle said the city council will decide whether to take the case to the entire 9th Circuit, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, or proceed to trial.

“We think in the end the officers didn’t do anything wrong and they did everything they could to try to protect public safety,” he said. “The police officers were really caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Police wearing riot gear stood their ground for about 90 minutes as violence escalated before breaking up scuffles and making arrests.

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