At the time, it seemed to be more than just a coincidence: Even as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear demonstrators from outside the White House, Donald Trump spoke in the Rose Garden to announce a crackdown on George Floyd protests. Then he set across the cleared Lafayette Square for the most infamous photo op of his presidency: holding a Bible outside a historic church. But a D.C. judge has now dismissed a slew of lawsuits brought by the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and other groups over the events of June 1, 2020, the Washington Post reported. It said U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich rejected as “conclusory” the key claim that Trump, then-Attorney General Bill Barr, and other federal officials had conspired to violate the rights of protesters. She also ruled that some federal defendants were immune from civil suits, and that BLM could not demonstrate any direct injury from the police attack on protesters.
However, Friedrich did allow a legal challenge to federal restrictions on protests at Lafayette Square to go forward and also actions against the D.C. and Arlington County police that were were involved in the attack on protesters. That was little consolation for the plaintiffs. Scott Michelman, ACLU legal director for D.C., said the ruling “essentially gives the federal government a green light to use violence, including lethal force against demonstrators, as long as federal officials claim to be protecting national security” and “effectively places federal officials above the law.”