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Image: Capitol riot
Rioters attempt to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Eric Lee / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Capitol Police veterans sue Trump over his role in Jan. 6 riot

Trump has long been eager to present himself as an ally of law enforcement. A new lawsuit from Capitol Police officers puts his posturing in a new light.


Last week, Donald Trump went to ridiculous lengths to defend those responsible for an insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, insisting, among other things, that the rioters posed "zero threat."

The former president went on to whine about law enforcement "persecuting" the rioters, whom the Republican said were merely "hugging and kissing the police and the guards."

As we discussed soon after, even for Trump, such rhetoric represented true madness. At issue is a violent mob -- dispatched by the former president himself -- that launched the most serious attack against our Capitol in two centuries. The Washington Post reported, "About 140 police officers were injured, according to the police union, and two officers who had been on duty at the Capitol that day later died by suicide. "

Indeed, as of yesterday, two of the officers who protected the Capitol and the people within it from Trump's mob have decided to sue the former president. Bloomberg News reported overnight:

Two U.S. Capitol Police veterans who were on duty during the Jan. 6 riot sued Donald Trump accusing the former president of inciting the violent mob that injured scores of officers. Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby claim protesters attacked them with aerosol chemicals, including pepper spray and tear gas, that burned their eyes, throat and skin. The officers not only suffered physical injuries but Blassingame is also dealing with depression since the riot, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Washington.

They must have missed all the "hugging and kissing" Trump found so impressive.

By any fair measure, these officers have a very serious case. According to the legal complaint, Blassingame "is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts -- the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface.... He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not."

It's also important to note that Blassingame, in the lawsuit, added that the right-wing crowd repeatedly hurled racial slurs in his face.

Hemby, meanwhile, said the pro-Trump rioters attacked him "relentlessly" during the assault on the Capitol. "He was bleeding from a cut located less than an inch from his eye. He had cuts and abrasions on his face and hands and his body was pinned against a large metal door, fending off attacks," the lawsuit said.

The former president has long been eager to present himself as an ally of law enforcement (despite his fierce criticisms of law enforcement). This new lawsuit puts Trump's posturing in a new light.

Postscript: Note, this is not the only civil suit against Trump, stemming from his role in inciting the Jan. 6 violence. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) have also filed separate cases against the former president.