Two Capitol Police veterans who attempted to defend the Capitol complex against a warring mob on Jan. 6 filed suit Tuesday against Donald Trump for his role in inciting the melee that left several dead and injured more than 100 officers.
The lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C.’s federal District Court by officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby adds to the legal jeopardy Trump already faces from two previous complaints filed separately by two members of Congress. It also adds harrowing descriptions of what the police charged with protecting the Capitol and federal lawmakers faced that day. The officers say rioters attacked them with pepper spray and tear gas that burned their eyes and skin. They also say they suffered hand, knee, back, and head injuries—some of which have required ongoing medical treatment.
Additionally, the complaint describes the “severe emotional toll” of witnessing the siege that day and feeling helpless to stop it. Blassingame, the complaint reads, “is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts – the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface. He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not.”
The complaint says Blassingame has suffered from depression since the attack and has found it incredibly difficult to talk about with his wife and friends. Also, because Blassingame continues to work at the site of the attack, “he is unable to avoid most of the triggers of his emotional reactions.”
Just this week, Trump spread lies on Fox News about what he claimed was the peaceful nature of the insurrection. “It was zero threat. Right from the start, it was zero threat,” Trump told Fox host Laura Ingraham. “Look, they went in — they shouldn’t have done it — some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know?”
But three lawsuits filed by people who were on the receiving end of Trump’s mob now tell a distinctly different story. In each suit, Trump’s role in inciting the Capitol assault is meticulously documented.
Blassingame and Hemby are seeking unspecified compensation and damages greater than $75,000 apiece, according to Politico.