Lawsuit alleges police used excessive force during 4th Precinct protest

Two women have filed a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and 10 unnamed police officers, alleging police hit them with nightsticks during protests at the 4th Precinct police station Nov. 18.

Camille Williams and her mother Carrie Anthanasselis filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Minneapolis on Dec. 24. The complaint alleges police used excessive force and violated their constitutional right to peacefully protest, among other things.

The protest the night of Nov. 18 was one of the most intense confrontations between demonstrators and police during the 18-day encampment at the police station. It was three days after Jamar Clark, 24, was fatally shot by police during an altercation just blocks from the 4th Precinct station. The FBI and state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating Clark’s death.

According to the civil compliant, Anthanasselis went to the police station after she heard reports that police were firing rubber bullets and Macing protesters and couldn’t reach her daughter on the phone.

She found her daughter and joined about 10 other protesters near the side entrance of the police station. They allege officers started pushing them in an alley even after they complied with orders to back away from a police van.

Williams recorded the altercation with police on her cellphone. The suit also alleges that one or more officers hit her with a nightstick several times on her face and body, and one officer hit her mother under her left eye with a nightstick.

One officer later grabbed Williams’ phone, threw it on the ground and hit it with a nightstick, according to the complaint.

The women are seeking a jury trial and damages exceeding $50,000.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said the city is “reviewing the allegations and collecting relevant information.”

“We will carefully evaluate this case as we do with all legal matters we handle on behalf of the city,” she said. 

In its answer filed in response to the lawsuit, the city denies that protesters complied with officers’ demands to move away from a police van in an alley next to the precinct.