A group of protesters and bystanders who say they were assaulted by Worcester police during the racial justice protests in June 2020 are suing the city and the police department in federal court.
The lawsuit claims that Worcester police retaliated against bystanders who were using phones to record police shooting tear gas and so-called "less-than-lethal" rounds at crowds. The plaintiffs allege that police then lied in their reports to justify the arrests.
Attorney Hector Pineiro said the officers involved in the arrests were never disciplined.
“The police department isn't willing to hold anybody accountable, from the bottom to the top,” he said. “One of the reasons for this lawsuit is to change that, to put the microscope on what happened.”
The lawsuit also says Worcester police did not have a policy on how to de-escalate confrontations during protests or on when to use force.
The suit comes as the Department of Justice is investigating whether Worcester police have a pattern of using excessive force and discriminatory policing.
A Worcester police spokesperson said the department does not comment on lawsuits. The city manager’s office did not respond to a request for comment.