Boudjerada et al v. City of Eugene et al
In July 2020, a group of Black Lives Matter protestors, represented by CLDC, filed a federal civil rights suit against the City of Eugene and members of the Eugene Police Department (EPD) for violating their rights. In the words of our clients, “We did this not for ourselves, but for all of those who were brutalized or have had their rights violated by the police state—or may in the future—but cannot or do not feel safe enough to come forward and sue the cops. We also do this on behalf of our community at-large, in the hope that such violent oppression will not deter future change-makers from engaging in protesting unjust systems. Not all of us were protesters; our plaintiff group includes people who were indeed exercising their constitutional rights to protest, people who were providing legal support to community members, others who were attempting to leave the curfew zones as directed, and residents of a housing cooperative who experienced assaults on their homes by overzealous armed attack-cops looking for an excuse to shoot at humans. Harms by EPD range from serious physical injuries from impact munitions and chemical weapons, to unwarranted arrests, imprisonment during a pandemic, and physical property destruction.”
To date, the City and its City Manager and Council have failed to address the protestors’ demands for police accountability:
- Defund EPD – The essentially secret budget for SWAT (it’s buried in the $32 million police patrol budget) needs to end. Redirect those funds to programs and organizations that will help solve the devastating problems we face in this city and raise quality of life for groups of people that are historically excluded and marginalized here.
- Demilitarize EPD – It’s time for police departments to stop acting like they are enforcing a military occupation of hostile territory. We are calling for prohibitions on chemical and impact munitions for crowd control and significant community oversight regarding what is an appropriate use of force during nonviolent protests.
- Stop ordering unconstitutional curfews – The city’s curfew law was written to deal with things like natural disasters and other crises that might make being outside unsafe – and even in such instances a city-wide curfew would be questionable. To permit an unelected, unqualified City Manager to invoke blanket curfews to quell the exercise of free speech is not only a violation of protester’s rights; it is also a violation of the rights of everyone who lives in the city.