SAN FRANCISCO – A group of San Jose police officers lost an appeal on July 27 in a case involving an attack on attendees of a Donald Trump rally in the city.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found the seven police officers do not have immunity in a lawsuit brought by Juan Hernandez and a group of 20 other Trump supporters.
In a 28-page ruling, Judge Dorothy W. Nelson affirmed a lower court's ruling declining to dismiss the suit.
On Jun. 2, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump held a campaign rally at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. The Trump supporters alleged police officers did not protect them against anti-Trump protesters. Some attendees were hit in the face, kicked in the back and spat upon, the original lawsuit claimed.
The plaintiffs also allege police officers "shepherded" them into the "mob of violent protesters waiting outside the convention center."
The rally attendees also named the city of San Jose as a defendant.
The police officers asked for qualified immunity, which holds public servants not liable in a civil case if they are sued in the course of their jobs. The claim was denied by the U.S. District Court of California and upheld by tje appellate ruling.
"The officers violated their due process rights by exposing them to the danger of an unruly mob," Nelson wrote in the opinion. "Because the officers placed them in danger, which resulted in their injuries, and their rights were clearly established at the time of the rally, the attendees contend we should deny the officers qualified immunity. We agree."
Nelson stated "the attendees have alleged sufficiently that the officers increased the danger to them by shepherding them into a crowd of violent protesters" and that those same officers acted with "deliberate indifference" to the danger.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Case number 17-15576 D.C. No. 5:16-cv-03957- LHK
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