SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - A federal judge gutted a lawsuit brought by Donald Trump supporters who said the city of San Jose acted with discriminatory hostility by allowing protesters to attack them after leaving the GOP candidate's rally on June 2.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh dismissed nearly all the charges brought by plaintiffs, while allowing the negligence claim to go forward. The dismissal means San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who were accused of discriminating against Trump supporters due to their political beliefs, are off the hook.
"The factual context of the instant case shows that Liccardo lacked legal authority to give any orders to police officers and therefore was less likely to give such an order," Koh wrote in her 26-page order issued Thursday.
Koh added the plaintiffs failed to show the facts that demonstrated Liccardo actually ordered police to treat Trump supporters indifferently or that he helped orchestrate the exit route from the rally so as to expose the attendees to violence.
The judge echoed the same comments in relation to Garcia who, while he did have authority over police and likely helped plan the exit route and police dispersal around the event, did not do anything to support claims that he violated the constitutional rights of the Trump supporters.
"As with the claim against Liccardo, plaintiffs offer little other than a bare allegation to support their claim that Garcia gave such an order or targeted plaintiffs because of their political affiliation," Koh wrote. "Plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that Garcia gave an order for police officers to direct plaintiffs into a violent crowd or not to intervene when plaintiffs were attacked or that Garcia did so because of plaintiffs' political affiliation."
Koh also dismissed claims that the city had developed and carried out unconstitutional policies, saying the single incident was not sufficient to establish a pattern of behavior running contrary to constitutional provisions.
The judge did give the plaintiffs leave to amend all of the claims she dismissed on Thursday. And she allowed the negligence claims against the city to move forward.
"Plaintiffs contend that (the city and the named employees) owed plaintiffs a general duty not to place them in harm's way, and that after they placed plaintiffs in harm's way, (defendants) acquired a duty to provide affirmative aid," Koh wrote. "California law supports plaintiffs' contention."
San Jose city officials expressed satisfaction with Koh's ruling.
"We are pleased with the decision, as we believe there isn't a legally viable case against the mayor, chief or the city," said San Jose City Attorney Richard Doyle. "We condemn the violence that occurred after the rally, and are working with the district attorney to hold those who committed violent acts accountable."
The suit stems from multiple episodes of violent encounters between people who attended a Trump rally on June 2 and several protesters who voiced their displeasure with the candidate's controversial platform before during and after the evening event.
When the rally ended, Trump supporters were told to leave through the northeast exit of the McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose. Outside, police officers, many in riot gear, directed them north along Market Street while barricading the street to prevent them from turning south. This forced them to head directly "into the crowd of violent anti-Trump protesters," according to the complaint.