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Captain Isn’t Immune from Protesters’ Claims

(CN) - A police captain is not entitled to immunity from claims that he violated the constitutional rights of anti-war protesters at New Mexico University, the 10th Circuit ruled.

Lynn Buck and 15 other plaintiffs sued the city of Albuquerque and Capt. John Gonzales after they were arrested at the protest. They sued for excessive force and First Amendment retaliation.

Gonzales asked a federal appeals court in Denver to dismiss the lawsuit, asserting qualified immunity.

"Because the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech is clearly established," Judge Henry ruled, "Capt. Gonzales' challenges to the district court's findings fail."

Henry added that the 10th Circuit lacks jurisdiction to decide on factual disputes over the excessiveness of force or evidence of malicious prosecution.

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