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Lawsuit Claims Springfield PD Violated Civil Rights of BLM Protesters

Elizabeth Gabriel


The Civil Liberties Defense Center filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Springfield, its police chief, and 28 officers on Monday in regards to a Black Lives Matter protest last year.

The suit, filed on behalf of Black Unity, a racial justice advocacy group, and two others who were filming the protest, claims their constitutional rights were violated by the Springfield Police, including SPD Chief Richard Lewis at a July 29, 2020 protest in Thurston.


BU member and plaintiff  Tyshawn Ford, was described to have been violently pulled out of a crowd, kneeled on, and punched twice by an officer while under the control of other officers. Ford was later arrested.

“The police in Springfield have shown time and time again showed that they do not value people of color and they don’t care about peaceful protesting, they just want to go out there and flash their badge and show that they have more power than the rest of us,” Ford said at a March 8 press conference in Eugene. Ford said he supports abolishing the police.

The July 29 protest last year was held partly in response to a noose that was displayed outside a Thurston residence. The complaint alleges officers halted a peaceful BLM march, and encouraged counter protesters. The suit also claims SPD used excessive force and unlawfully detained protesters.


The City of Springfield was unable to comment.

The full complaint can be found here.
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Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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