A trucker group known as the People’s Convoy, who sought to travel to Washington, D.C. to protest COVID-19 mask mandates and vaccine requirements are suing the city of Washington, D.C., claiming police violated their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.
Sixteen of the people who took part in the trucker protest are suing the city for stopping them from gathering downtown. They are suing the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) claiming police violated their First Amendment rights by blocking their entry into the city. The plaintiffs are suing for violation of due process, not granting equal protection and violation of free speech.
The People’s Convoy was inspired by a Canadian trucker moment named the Freedom Convoy, also protesting COVID-19 mandates in Canada. The Freedom Convoy began in January and blocked Canada’s most vital trade route to the U.S.
The People’s Convoy originated in California, leaving Adelanto, California on their eleven-day journey beginning February 23. The drive to the nation’s capital was intended to clog D.C. streets to protest government COVID-19 mandates they believe were unconstitutional. However, the MPD set up blockades to divert the convoy from downtown D.C.
According to the lawsuit, MPD blocked exits on I-395 and I-695 on multiple days in March due to the convoy. At the time, police said they closed the exits “to keep traffic moving safely,” according to the Washington Post.
The lawsuit also alleges that MPD’s blockades led to the deaths of two people who crashed their car into a blockade. Plaintiffs argue the deaths “were entirely avoidable and tragically, foreseeable” due to MPD’s actions.
The lawsuit argues that the MPD blockades were effective and violated their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly. “The blockades were not the result of construction, auto accidents, or even scheduled road closures,” the lawsuit states. “MPD formed the blockades for the sole purpose of preventing American citizens from entering our nation’s capital to exercise their constitutionally protected right to free speech. Of course, such action under color of state law violates Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.”
“This is about our rights, as well as the freedom of future generations,” organizers of the People’s Convoy wrote on Facebook. “it’s not about political parties, but more so about a government that has forgotten its place and has no regard for our founding fathers’ instructions.”
According to the Washingtonian, the People’s Convoy is set to return to the D.C. area after an unsuccessful first attempt at protesting.
David Riddell, a convoy leader who gave a speech in Olympia, Washington said convoy members have “learned some stuff since last time.” He urged “tens of thousands of all of you to get in your vehicles and join with us and come to Washington, D.C.
I agree with David! Let’s all go. It is time the American people take a stand and let our lawmakers in Washington, D.C. know that we own those building and those offices that their lazy asses are sitting in.
Please let us all know when we are going. Our Constitution gives us the right to enter into our nation’s capital city any time we choose.