Detroit has filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter activists, alleging a "civil conspiracy" and claiming the protests in the city "have repeatedly turned violent, endangering the lives of police and the public," according to reports.
The city claims the activists participated in the conspiracy, "defamed" the mayor and police, and contends that the city should be awarded damages, The Intercept reported.
The city cites four protests that occurred in the city this year, and alleges that injuries to police officers included "cracked vertebrae, lacerations, and concussions," according to the report.
The repeated violence should negate BLM protest group Detroit Will Breathe’s claims that the demonstrations should be protected under the First Amendment, the city asserts, the report said.
The lawsuit was filed earlier this year, as a counter claim after activists sued the city in late August, alleging that police officers "repeatedly responded with violence" when demonstrators protested.
The move has infuriated critics, including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who blasted the city’s counter claim as "an unthinkable assault on our constitutional rights," in a November op-ed essay published in the Detroit Free Press.
Following the protesters’ lawsuit, a judge on Sept. 4 ordered Detroit’s police to stop using batons, shields, rubber bullets and other anti-riot tools and tactics against crowds.
City police Chief James Craig responded at the time that his officers had never used force against any protesters who remained peaceful.
"If someone is resisting arrest, or trying to attack our officers, we will use the force that's both reasonable and necessary to overcome the resistance," he told the Detroit News at the time. "We don't want the protesters injured, and we don't want officers injured, either."
The protesters have so far responded to the city’s lawsuit by seeking support from national legal groups and by appealing to members of the City Council to cut off funding for the city’s legal action, The Intercept reported.
The city has received outside backing as well, the report notes, including from the National Police Association.