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Two Capitol police officers have sued former President Donald Trump, accusing him in court papers of inciting the Jan. 6 riot that left them and other officers injured and traumatized.
Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby — who’ve been on the force for 17 and 11 years respectively — said for hours they endured an onslaught of physical and verbal attacks by rioters making them fear for their lives, according to a Washington DC federal lawsuit from Tuesday first reported by Politico.
They say that Trump laid a framework since the beginning of his term that “encouraged” violence by his supporters but which “accelerated during the 2020 presidential campaign”, the court papers allege.
This includes Trump’s refusal to disavow right-wing extremists during one of the debates, his unsubstantiated insistence that the election was stolen, his promise that the Jan. 6 rally “will be wild” and his inflammatory speech the day of, the court documents claim.
Hemby, of Waldorf, Maryland, said he and other officers were chased up the Capitol steps and during the melee he “was crushed against the doors on the east side trying to hold the insurrectionists back,” the suit claims.
“Things were thrown at him, and he was sprayed with chemicals that irritated his eyes, skin and throat,” the court filing describes.
One rioter screamed in his face that he was “disrespecting the badge” and that the officers were “not patriots,” the court documents claim.
The incident left him bleeding from a cut near his eye. He also had cuts and bruises on his face and hands. His left knee and hand were swollen and painful; his back and neck ached; and his skin burned, the court papers say.
Hemby now sees a physical therapist two to three days a week for his neck and back injuries.
And Hemby “has struggled to manage the emotional fallout from being relentlessly attacked,” the suit says.
Blassingame, of Rockville, Maryland, with eight other officers ended up trying to stave off rioters in the crypt where “a forceful surge of insurrectionists pushed forward and slammed Officer Blassingame against a stone column”, the court papers say.
He hit his spine and the back of his head and wasn’t able to move, the court documents say.
Further, some people yelled the n-word to his face. “He lost count of the many times the racial slur was hurled at him,” the court papers allege.
The rioters hit him in the face, head, chest, arms and nearly every other part of his body with fists, flagpoles, stanchions, directional signs, water bottles and other objects, the court documents claim.
“The threats and attacks on Officer Blassingame seemed endless … [his] sole focus was to do what he could to survive,” the court filing says.
Blassingame still has neck and back pain. The riot took a “severe emotional toll” on him as he’s “haunted” by memories from the day, the court papers allege.
The pair sued Trump for claims of assault and battery, aiding and abetting, directing intentional infliction of emotional distress and related claims.
They are each seeking over $75,000 in damages.
Lawyers and a rep for Trump did not immediately return requests for comment.
The day of the riots, Trump released a statement telling his supporters to “go home.”
“We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” he said at the time.
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