Roughed-Up Trump Supporters Settle With San Jose 

(CN) – Immediately after a Trump rally in San Jose held during the feverish pitch of the 2016 campaign for president pitting Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton, several attendees found themselves under attack as they left a downtown convention center.

Juan Hernandez, one such Trump supporter, left the McHenry Convention Center on the evening of June 2, 2016, and was ushered into a crowd of fervid anti-Trump protesters, some of whom proceeded to punch Hernandez repeatedly. Hernandez suffered a broken nose and other injuries. 

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

He later joined several other people who also endured attacks after leaving the rally in a suit against the city of San Jose and some of its public safety officials, claiming they negligently allowed the attacks by directing attendees directly into the teeth of a seething crowd while police stood by as people were assaulted. 

On Monday, Harmeet Dhillon, the attorney for the Trump rally attendees who were roughed up, said the plaintiffs have reached a settlement with the city of San Jose. 

Through the lawsuit, we learned that in the wake of these assaults and the City’s grossly deficient response to the organized political violence on its streets, the San Jose Police Department has provided its officers with additional training and resources to ensure that such a situation is never repeated again in the future,” Dhillon said in a statement. 

Along with additional training, Dhillon noted the city of San Jose expressed regret for its role in the violent attacks.

“We regret that, despite the San Jose Police Department’s efforts at the rally, we were unable to fully prevent the assaults that did happen and that some people who were lawfully exercising their lawful First Amendment right were injured as a result,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement. 

Liccardo further pledged both the city and the police department would do more to address the concerns of those “who may fear the prospect of violent reprisal for their political participation in public events.”

Dhillon said it was the least the city could do under the circumstances. 

“While San Jose police and mutual aid law enforcement stood by and watched, citizens were subjected to the type of political violence we normally only see in lawless, third-world countries,” the attorney said. “Worse, the police blocked exit paths to safety and forced citizens into a violent mob, violating their constitutional rights.”

The initial complaint was filed in federal court soon after the June event and named San Jose Police Chief and Liccardo as defendants. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh presided over the case and while she dismissed the case against the named individuals, she did allow the negligence claims against the city stand. 

The city appealed Koh’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, saying the city was entitled to the same qualified immunity protections as the individual employees. The Ninth Circuit eventually ruled against the city, meaning the city would have to face the negligence claims at the district court level. 

“We continue to reject the proposition that a government has carte blanche, under the judicially-created qualified immunity doctrine, to place citizens in harm’s way as a result of their political viewpoints/speech/free association, and escape the consequences,” Dhillon said on Monday. 

The two sides then entered into settlement negotiations and Dhillon said her clients have agreed to dismiss the case in exchange for additional police training and an expression of regret from city officials. 

Koh must approve the settlement.

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