James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, both of Maryland, were on duty that day.
People in the mob “were spurred on by Trump’s conduct over many months in getting his followers to believe his false allegation that he was about to be forced out of the White House because of massive election fraud by his presidential adversary Joe Biden, and that the convening of Congress on January 6 to count the Electoral College results and declare the winner was their last chance to ‘stop the steal,'” according to the suit, obtained by The Epoch Times.
“The insurrectionist mob, which Trump had inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted, forced its way over and past the plaintiffs and their fellow officers, pursuing and attacking them inside and outside the United States Capitol, and causing the injuries complained of herein.”
As a result of Trump’s speech at The Ellipse, about two miles from the Capitol, along with his conduct and statements leading up to Jan. 6, and his failure “to take timely action to stop his followers from continued violence at the Capitol,” the former president “committed torts, or acts that give rise to injury or harm to another,” lawyers for the officers argue.
The torts include directing assault and battery, aiding and abetting the same, and directing intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to the officers.
Trump repeatedly, and to this day, has said that he is the true winner of the 2020 election. President Joe Biden, though, was certified as the Electoral College victor by states and then Congress.
Trump’s statements about the election being fraudulent and rigged stoked violence among his supporters, the suit alleges. One quote it uses is of Trump saying on Sept. 29, 2020, that there were some ballots found in the trash, which was accurate. The suit also notes that before the election, Trump declined to promise to tell his supporters to “stay calm” following the election.
It further noted that the president on and after Election Day cast doubt on election results and claimed that widespread fraud occurred. The suit includes a number of tweets Trump posted on the matter.
On Jan. 6, Hemby, one of the officers, along with colleagues, was confronted by a large group, many of whom were dressed in Trump gear and carrying large Trump flags, the suit states. The crowd chased the officers to the top of the East Front Capitol stairs and “forced them against the doors.” Hemby was “crushed against the doors,” trying in vain to tell the mob that the doors would only open outward. He was “attacked relentlessly” as he focused on trying to survive, the suit states.
Blassingame, meanwhile, was with a small group of officers inside the Capitol. He said they were helpless while watching officers pinned to doors at the West Front of the Capitol building.
When he heard on the radio that people were entering the Capitol, he ran to intervene and “saw a sea of people running toward him.” The eight or nine officers present tried to face the mob by forming a line but “were dramatically outnumbered and overwhelmed,” the suit states.
Blassingame and colleagues were allegedly struck with fists and weapons.
“Foremost in Officer Blassingame’s mind was the terrifying certainty that the insurrectionists were interested in him and the other officers not going home to their families that night,” the suit states. People allegedly hurled racial slurs at him as the chaos unfolded.
Both officers were eventually able to extricate themselves from their respective situations and survived. But both have continued dealing with what happened; Blassingame still has pain in his back and “is haunted by the memory of being attacked.” Hemby is still in physical therapy and “continues to sleep poorly.”
The officers are seeking $75,000 each, along with interest, costs, and punitive damages.
Spokespersons for Trump didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Trump never called for violence and instead told his followers to go to the Capitol peacefully to ‘cheer’ on those challenging the electoral votes. Such protests at capitals are common and, while reckless, Trump’s speech could as easily be interpreted as a call for protest rather than violence,” Turley wrote, adding that the suits “represent serious threats to free speech” and would likely fail on appeal if they survived trial-level litigation.