AUSTIN, Texas — Five of the 21 Austin Police Department officers indicted for their actions during the May 2020 social justice protests in Austin are now suing.
A lawsuit filed late Tuesday evening listed the officers suing as Joshua Jackson, Rolan Rast, Todd Gilbertson, Derrick Lehman and Alexander Lomovstev. The group is suing the City of Austin and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County, Black Lives Matter and the Austin Justice Coalition – among others – for $1 million.
The officers claim they weren't trained in how to use the less-lethal rounds and that city staff knew some of those rounds were defective and expired.
Adam Meury, the lawyer representing the five officers, told KVUE the officers were assaulted during the 2020 George Floyd protests by demonstrators. The lawsuit claims Mayor Adler “encouraged and welcomed” rioters, despite knowing the protests were violent.
Meury said the officers’ careers have come to a stand-still since the protests. Some were passed up for promotions. He claims the officers and their families have suffered physically, emotionally and financially.
”They were assaulted, they were called horrible things, they had horrible things thrown on them, some of them called their spouses to say goodbye because they thought that they were not going to live through the night. They thought that they were going to die out there in the service to their community,” said Meury. “Yet, they still did their job, they served the community, safeguarded us, and the result is they're then attacked by that same community. And we need to see justice for these officers.”
The lawsuit from the APD officers is just the latest of several others stemming from the May 2020 protests.
The City has previously been named in lawsuits regarding the protests with several of those already being settled. As of May 27, the City has approved six settlements involving protesters who sued due to injuries sustained during the protests:
The five officers who filed the suit against the City and others are part of the 21 APD officers indicted for their use of force during the protests. Two of the 21 indictments were announced on May 27.
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