The ACLU claims the video of the incident, which was given to the Kokomo Tribune immediately after it happened, shows the protesters did nothing to threaten the officers. According to the lawsuit, Lambert lost consciousness during the incident and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
Last week, both men entered into pretrial diversion agreements to resolve the criminal charges. If both men avoid any criminal charges for the next six months, the Howard County charges will be dropped. Neither of the protesters was required to admit guilt in return for receiving diversion.
Lambert said attorneys advised he and Burke to wait to file the federal lawsuit until after their criminal charges were resolved.
Among the allegations contained in the lawsuit, the protesters claim Menges didn’t have any legal authority for his order banning masks. The lawsuit claims the Howard County Commissioners, not the judge, is tasked with establishing and maintaining the county courthouse by the Indiana Constitution.
The lawsuit also alleges Rogers and his deputies used excessive force against the protesters.
“At no time either prior to or after assaulting Mr. Burke did the sheriff and/or the officers instruct Mr. Burke to freeze, to get down on his knees, to place his hands against the wall, to get down on the ground, or to assume any other position that would have been designed to enable the assault-free arrest of Mr. Burke,” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, the protesters’ attorneys filed a tort claim against the county in February 2012, but have yet to get a response. Howard County attorney
Larry Murrell couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org