Occupy DC Protesters Sue MPD Over Arrests On Downtown Sidewalk

WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.

Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)

The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."

This demonstration included setting up a number of tents on the sidewalk outside of Merrill Lynch's offices. The tents were taken down after MPD officers ordered them removed. Dukore and Canavan were then arrested after reassembling one tent, which they refused to leave.

The suit claims that that Dukore's and Canavan's arrests violated the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and that Dukore and Canavan were illegally arrested and imprisoned, and suffered damage to their reputations.

The tents are at issue, too: Dukore and Canavan claim to have been "wrongfully dispossessed" of their tents by "unknown MPD employees."

The Washington Examiner reported at the time that the protesters were charged with obstructing the sidewalk. The suit claims that the "tents did not prevent others from using the sidewalk," and that physically occupying the space in front of Merrill Lynch's offices "was the only effective manner in which Plaintiffs could express their message" of "taking back society from banking and financial institutions."