Capitol Police officer who suffered concussion on January 6 is latest to sue Trump seeking accountability
By Katelyn Polantz, CNN Reporter, Crime and Justice
US Capitol Police Officer Briana Kirkland is suing former President Donald Trump for the physical and emotional pain she endured, including a traumatic brain injury, because of the Capitol insurrection, according to a new filing in DC District Court.
Her complaint adds to other similar lawsuits, including from other police officers, seeking to hold Trump accountable for civil penalties in DC District Court. It describes in detail her movements and altercations with the crowd during some of the most intense moments at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Kirkland had run to the Capitol alongside other officers as they attempted to form a line to protect the Lower West Terrace door — which later became a scene of significant violence as the crowd attempted to get into the building. She said she had little protective gear and was outnumbered by the Trump-supporting crowd by 450 people to 1.
“All she could do was try to stand her ground as she gripped her baton in her hand with all her strength,” her complaint states. During the melee, she was caught in a cloud of chemical gas, before fighting with a rioter over a bike rack barrier.
Later in the day, she helped emergency medical personnel get to Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who was shot and killed by a police officer protecting an inner congressional hallway.
Kirkland had a headache late in the day that was evidence of a concussion, though she “didn’t recall being struck in the head,” according to the lawsuit.The injury kept her from working until she returned full time this week, her lawsuit states.
She is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
“Officer Kirkland endured an odyssey in which she started as one of the twenty or so USCP officers sent to the West Front of the United States Capitol, and ended covered in chemical spray, blood, with a traumatic brain injury that would cost her a year of her personal and professional life, and physical and personal injuries that will be with her indefinitely,” her attorney, Patrick Malone, wrote in the filing on Thursday — the one-year anniversary of the attack.
Trump’s “provocative words and actions leading up to and on January 6, 2021, were likely to incite and provoke violence in others and did in fact incite and provoke violence directed at Briana Kirkland,” he added.
Trump had been hit with two other federal lawsuits Tuesday from law enforcement officers — one filed by a US Capitol Police officer and another by two members of the DC Metropolitan Police — who were at the Capitol the day of the attack and who allege that the then-President directed the assault that left them injured and emotionally traumatized.
The complaints this week joined six other civil suits that had been filed against Trump, the rioters or others for their alleged roles in encouraging the Capitol attack.
Trump has argued in DC District Court that his bully pulpit message to his supporters at the political rally on January 6 — encouraging them to oppose Congress certifying the vote — was a constitutionally protected act of the presidency.
This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.
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CNN’s Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.