Levy Firestone Muse Files New Lawsuit Over U.S. Park Police Officers Brutally Beating Protester in Lafayette Square in June 2020

Apr 21, 2022 | LAW360

Levy Firestone Muse Partners Daren Firestone and Scott Brooks filed a federal lawsuit today accusing U.S. Park Police officers of brutally beating their client, Elizabeth Carmer, during the Trump Administration’s violent and unprovoked attacks on civil rights protesters in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of civil actions stemming from federal and local law enforcement’s violent removal of demonstrators from Lafayette Square, where members of the public had been gathering for days to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

Ms. Carmer, 58, was kneeling with her hands in the air when Park Police officers rushed at her, knocked her to the ground, and senselessly bludgeoned her with batons. She suffered severe bruising and permanent nerve damage in her right thigh.

“They came at me with so much force. It was truly shocking,” said Ms. Carmer. “I’m not someone who attends a lot of protests. But the news that summer was so heartbreaking. I just wanted to speak up, in my own small way, and say, ‘This is not right.’ I’m still living with the consequences.”

The assault happened on the fourth day of civil rights protests in Lafayette Square. Ms. Carmer, who had not attended any of the previous days’ demonstrations, had been in the square for an hour or less when the officers beat her.

Later that day, former President Trump posed for photographs holding a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“The attack on peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square was an assault on the bedrock of our democracy: the right to free speech. The officers and the person who ordered the assault on the demonstrators must be held accountable,” said Daren Firestone, of Levy Firestone Muse LLP, who is representing Ms. Carmer in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accuses U.S. Park Police officers and Major Mark Adamchik, the incident commander, of violating Ms. Carmer’s rights under the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It also seeks damages for assault and battery under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Read the complaint

See the video that captured part of the incident

Ms. Carmer kneeling at the northern edge of Lafayette Park, just seconds before the attack (approximately 6:38 p.m.) — courtesy Darren Haynes
Still image from video that captured part of the attack on Plaintiff (approximately 6:38 p.m.) — courtesy Darren Haynes
Ms. Carmer’s right thigh, three days after the attack