University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Ahmad v. City of St. Louis PN-MO-0008
Docket / Court 4:17-cv-02455 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On September 22, 2017, the plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs are protesters who, while protesting the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley (who had shot a suspect and was prosecuted for murder) ... read more >
On September 22, 2017, the plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs are protesters who, while protesting the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley (who had shot a suspect and was prosecuted for murder). The alleged that they were subjected to unlawful retaliation after exercising their right to engage in First Amendment protected activity, including the right to record police officers in public places. The plaintiffs sued the City of St. Louis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including claims of unlawful seizure, excessive force, and procedural due process claims.

Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, the plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction requiring the City of St. Louis to behave constitutionally when declaring protests “unlawful assemblies” and ordering protesters “to disperse.” The case was assigned to District Judge Ronnie L. White, who set the first hearing for about two weeks later. Before that hearing, the plaintiffs filed an an amended complaint (in which they removed some of the original parties to the case) and a motion for a preliminary injunction (mooting out the earlier request for a temporary restraining order). The preliminary injunction sought was to prevent officers from giving any order of dispersal in the absence of the use of force or violence and to prevent enforcement of an order of dispersal without first allowing sufficient opportunity to exit the area. The plaintiffs also wished to prohibit the unlawful utilization of chemical agents, such as tear gas, and to prohibit retaliation against any individual who photographs or records law enforcement officials in the course of their duty.

On October 5, 2017, plaintiffs moved to certify a class. The class definition would consist of all persons who will observe, record, or participate in protest activity within the City of St. Louis in a traditional or designated public forum.

On October 13, 2017, plaintiffs moved the court (Judge White) to disqualify itself from the present case given Judge White’s relationships with the City Counselor’s Office and concerns of impartiality. On that same day, the court granted the request; District Judge Catherine D. Perry replaced Judge White.

Judge Perry held a hearing over two days in October, and on November 15, 2017, granted the preliminary injunction, noting the video, photographic, and documentary evidence introduced of police misconduct. The preliminary injunction prohibited the defendant and its agents from declaring unlawful an otherwise lawful assembly and prohibited the use of chemical agents against persons engaged in expressive, non-violent activity in the City of St. Louis in the absence of probable cause and without granting adequate warning and sufficient opportunity to exit the area. (2017 WL 5478410). On that same day, the court referred the case to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and mediation.

On December 11, 2017, the court appointed Roger L. Goldman as the neutral. On May 4, 2017, the court (Judge Perry) ordered that ADR shall conclude before June 1, 2019 and scheduled a bench trial set for September 26, 2019. The case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 05/22/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Required disclosure
Retaliation Prohibition
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Pepper/OC spray
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of St. Louis
Plaintiff Description All persons who will observe, record, or participate in protest activity within the City of St. Louis in a traditional or designated public forum.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Judge limits St. Louis police tactics like chemical agents used in protests
http://www.stltoday.com
Date: November 2017
By: Robert Patrick (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Citation: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/federal-judge-restricts-st-louis-police-conduct-during-protests/article_32df73a2-26e9-5478-bb20-34ad5f512e0d.html?utm_content=bufferece41&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=LEEDC
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:17-cv-2455 (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-MO-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Prospective Relief [ECF# 9]
PN-MO-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order of Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 57] (2017 WL 5478410) (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Perry, Catherine D. (E.D. Mo.)
PN-MO-0008-0003 | PN-MO-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Praiss, Omri E. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-9000
Rothert, Anthony [Tony] E. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-0001 | PN-MO-0008-0002 | PN-MO-0008-9000
Steffan, Jessie (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-0001 | PN-MO-0008-0002 | PN-MO-0008-9000
Wilcox, Gillian R. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-0001 | PN-MO-0008-0002 | PN-MO-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McDonnell, Thomas R. (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-9000
Relys, H. Anthony (Missouri)
PN-MO-0008-9000

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