Seeking Accountability for the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol
Smith v. Trump
On January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol Police officers risked their lives to protect our democracy. They faced a violent, mass attack on the Capitol driven by intentional misinformation aimed at overturning the legitimate results of an election in which record numbers of Black voters made their voices heard. The violent attack was designed to threaten and intimidate those involved in conducting and protecting the election certification process. It was not just an attack on people or property, but an attack on democracy itself.
Maliciously targeting those charged with conducting and protecting the certification of our elections mocks the very ideals of our constitution. This attack requires a response. We cannot rely on the political process to play out. We must act quickly to confront the lies that fueled the violence on January 6 in order to repair the damage done to our country and to deter future efforts in upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024.
That is why the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed suit on behalf of eight U.S. Capitol Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on that fateful day, naming as defendants former President Donald J. Trump, Stop the Steal, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other organizations and individual members of far-right extremist groups and political organizations responsible for the insurrection. These officers put their lives on the line to protect the votes and voices of everyone in this country, including Black voters and other voters of color.
The lawsuit, Smith v. Trump, argues that the attack on the Capitol violated the Ku Klux Klan Act and former President Trump and others deliberately spread election fraud claims and incited violence against members of Congress and the law enforcement officers whose job was to protect them.
Even after being sued in court and targeted by prosecutors, many of the defendants and their supporters continue to glorify the attack and minimize the harm they caused, not only to the plaintiffs and other officers, but to the country as a whole. The organizations and individuals who participated in the violent insurrection on January 6 are responsible for an attack on our democracy. Our lawsuit seeks to hold them accountable.
Amended Complaint (Dec. 3, 2021)
Statements and Releases
As Three-Year Anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection Approaches, Federal Appeals Court Rules that Trump Does Not Have Immunity from Civil Rights Suit Brought by U.S. Capitol Police Officers (Jan. 5, 2024)
Trump Indicted for Attempting to Overturn 2020 Election (Aug. 1, 2023)
January 6th Was an Attack on Democracy Itself (Jan. 6, 2022)
National Civil Rights Groups Issue Statement on Anniversary of Jan. 6 Insurrection (Jan. 6, 2022)
Press Release (Aug. 26, 2021)
New York Times: “Capitol Police Officers Sue Trump and Allies Over Election Lies and Jan. 6” (Aug. 26, 2021)
USA Today: “Capitol Police officers sue Trump, extremists, alleging conspiracy, terrorism on Jan. 6” (Aug. 26, 2021)
Latest on the Case
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law lawsuit, Smith v. Trump, filed on behalf of a group of Capitol Police officers against former President Donald Trump and his campaign, can proceed because the former president is not entitled to immunity from civil lawsuits, a federal appeals court ruled in late December 2023.