SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A group of South Bay Trump supporters who were caught in an angry crowd during a 2016 protest scored a court victory Friday when a panel of judges ruled their lawsuit against San Jose police can go forward.
A three-judge panel with Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Trump supporter Juan Hernandez, the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the San Jose Police Department.
“San Jose PD lead us right into the protesters,” said Hernandez. “Someone needs to be held accountable for what happened. So, it’s awesome — a huge step — to know that they will be held accountable for the lack of planning and the stand-down order that they received.”
The lawsuit claims San Jose police funneled Trump supporters leaving a June 2016 rally right into the middle of a crowd of counter-protesters, who quickly surrounded and attacked them.
The judges agreed with the plaintiffs, denying the city’s motion to dismiss the case, writing that by “shepherding them into a crowd of violent protesters” that “officers acted with deliberate indifference to the danger.”
San Jose police said they feared a more aggressive approach by officers might have caused even greater violence. Hernandez believes there may have been politics at play as well.
“San Jose Police were largely indifferent to us because we were Trump supporters. They had ample time to figure out the plans and contingencies,” said Hernandez.
The San Jose City Attorney said he is reviewing the decision and considering an appeal.