In a lawsuit announced Tuesday, the ACLU of D.C. formally sued the D.C. Police Department, for what they're calling the "illegal entry" of the home of a transgender advocate. The incident happened on November 16, when police arrested Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the executive director and co-founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective.
Hunter was hosting a get-together with other transgender advocates from across the country, in advance to a White House meeting the following day. According to the complaint, the arrest followed a disagreement between Hunter and a neighbor. After complaining about noise, the neighbor claimed that Hunter "pushed" him, and called police.
A six minute Facebook Live video (http://bit.ly/2m7sEBZ), recorded by one of Hunter's guests, showed a standoff between Hunter and police, before she was grabbed, pulled out the door, and arrested. She was released from jail at 3:00a.m., and no charges were filed.
"I was in total shock that night," said Hunter in a press release. "There was no reason for the police to respond with such aggression and excess."
The main concern for the ACLU was with the way Hunter was arrested. DC law mandates an arrest warrant, before any arrests can be made for a misdemeanor. The only exceptions are if the suspect is dangerous, is a flight risk, or if evidence can be destroyed. Since there was no warrant, the ACLU claims the D.C. Police acted illegally.
This isn't the first time officers from the D.C. Police Department have been accused of entering homes illegally. In 2013, the Office of Police Complaints investigated the issue, and found at least a dozen cases where police had acted improperly.
The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/2m7BnEr
Attorney Shana Nizhnik, from the ACLU, released the following statement in reference to the lawsuit:
“Both the United States Constitution and the laws of the District of Columbia make clear that the officers’ actions were unlawful. Although MPD responded to the Office of Police Complaints report by revising its General Order on search warrants and by developing new training, it seems that the Department has not yet gotten a handle on the problem.”