Lawyers seek class action suit over mass RNC arrests

Attorneys say they’re filing a class action lawsuit against the City of St. Paul and its law enforcement officers over the mass arrest of people in a riverside park last year during the Republican National Convention.

More than 200 people in the park were arrested last Sept. 1, after they allegedly failed to disperse from the area near Shepard Road and Chestnut Street. Officers in riot gear rounded them up and many were held for 72 hours, lawyers contend.

Twenty-seven of them filed suit Tuesday in federal court; their lawyers hope to get certified as a class action so all 200 would be covered, says the Minnesota Daily.

One of the attorneys told KSTP-TV that there was no probable cause to make the arrests and that the use of chemical irritants and non-lethal ammunition was excessive.

“You can’t take the wrongs of one person and use them as justification to arrest masses, that’s simply illegal. That’s the basis of this lawsuit,” said attorney Bob Kolstad.

They claim many of those arrested were taken to jail and held up to 72 hours, although none of them were ever convicted of any crime.

“Other people were taken to jail, other people were taken to another detention site, and a lot of people were given tickets, all of which were dismissed,” Kolstad said.

Currently 27 people have become part of the lawsuit, but if it gains class action status, all of the people arrested last September could become part of the suit.

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