CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A group of seven Charlotteans have filed a federal lawsuit against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the City of Charlotte for the use of tear gas during the protests following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.
The lawsuit alleges the plaintiffs and other protesters experienced and witnessed numerous incidents at the hands of CMPD officers that were "designed to target and punish demonstrators and to deter them from continuing speech and assembly activities".
CMPD "persistently violated the constitutional rights of the named plaintiffs... in response to Plaintiffs' exercise of their constitutional right to assemble and protest", the suit states.
The plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to enforce their protected rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The lawsuit also alleges that CMPD officers impeded entry or exit from demonstrations, assaulted demonstrators with chemical agents, including pepper spray and tear gas, shot them with "so-called less than lethal" projectiles, rounded protestors up in mass arrests, engaged in physical and verbal abuse, failed to visibly identify themselves and categorically labeled all demonstrations as unlawful assemblies.
NBC Charlotte reached out to CMPD for a response to the lawsuit:
We received a copy earlier this evening and will review the specifics listed in the lawsuit.
The City of Charlotte released the following statement:
The City is reviewing the lawsuit filed late today. This has been and continues to be a difficult time for our community. CMPD respects and strives to protect everyone's constitutional right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and protest. At the same time, our officers are charged with maintaining peace and order and protecting public safety. Chief Putney and the men and women of the department have and will continue to work toward achieving both of these goals.
Read the full complaint and other documents filed in connection with the lawsuit below.