Protesters File Lawsuit Against City of Eugene, Police
Six protesters filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the city of Eugene, the city manager and 22 Eugene Police Department officers for violating their constitutional rights during the May 31 Black Lives Matter-related protests.
The lawsuit names six instances when EPD’s response caused physical harm.
One protester in the lawsuit was at Broadway and Olive and 10th and Willamette on May 31. Kelsie Leith-Bowden, one of the plaintiffs, alleges EPD chased dispersing protesters who were out around 8:30 pm, hitting them with chemical and impact munitions. The munitions struck Leith-Bowden’s midsection, causing her severe physical and emotional injuries, according to the filing.
“She was unable to walk or carry out basic tasks without assistance for at least a week after being attacked,” the lawsuit says.
Leith-Bowden was unable to return to work normal hours. Before May 31, she had two jobs but because of her injuries she was terminated from one and had reduced weekly hours from 32 to 10.
The lawsuit alleges munitions deployed by EPD that weekend were more than a decade old and expired, according to the lawsuit.
In addition to City Manager Sarah Medary, the lawsuit names two EPD officers who arrested protesters, as well as 20 unidentified police officers who committed and/or supervised the acts against the protesters.
Protesters also allege that the city manager-imposed curfew violated their First and 14th Amendment rights.
The protesters are seeking economic and non-economic damages, including lost wages, and punitive damages to the police officers and city officials to discourage future similar policies.
This lawsuit related to actions on the weekend of May 31 follows Eugene Weekly reporter Henry Houston’s, which was filed July 21.
This article has been updated.