Washington: Seven US Capitol Police officers filed suit against former president Donald Trump and members of right-wing extremist groups on Thursday, accusing them of being directly responsible for the January 6 attack on Congress.
The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed against Trump over the attempt by thousands of his supporters to prevent the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden's November 2020 presidential election victory.
The latest suit was filed in US District Court in Washington by The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights on behalf of seven Capitol Police officers who battled Trump loyalists at the Capitol.
Among those named in the lawsuit are Trump, the Trump Campaign, Trump associate Roger Stone and members of right-wing extremist groups the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.
The suit alleges they engaged in an "unlawful effort to use force, intimidation, and threats to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 Presidential election."
"Because of Defendants' unlawful actions, Plaintiffs were violently assaulted, spat on, tear-gassed, bear-sprayed, subjected to racial slurs and epithets, and put in fear for their lives," the complaint said. Five of the police officers filing suit are Black.
Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee, said the January 6 attack "was a blatant attempt to stifle the votes and voices of millions of Americans, particularly Black voters."
"For months after the 2020 election had been officially called, former president Trump and his associates made coordinated and systematic attempts to lodge their false claims of election fraud," Hewitt said.
"The lies of this conspiracy intentionally energized white supremacists and violent extremist groups and actively encouraged them to coordinate the violent attack on the Capitol."
Trump has also been targeted in lawsuits filed by Democratic lawmakers over the January 6 attack and a House Select Committee has opened an inquiry into the assault on Congress.
The select committee issued a sweeping request on Wednesday to the National Archives and seven government agencies for records related to the attack, including communications from Trump, members of his family, his top aides and dozens of other former members of his administration.
Trump has consistently refused to acknowledge his defeat to Biden and continues to make unfounded claims that he won the election.
The real estate mogul was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House in January for inciting insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.