The ACLU sued the D.C. government Tuesday after the civil rights group claims four police officers entered the home of a transgender activist without a warrant and arrested the woman.
The complaint charges that Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the co-founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective, was arrested at her home in November while she was hosting a gathering in her apartment for trans activists and advocates, but that police had no right to enter the home.
“We can not comment on pending litigation, but the Mayor has worked closely with MPD on assisting and building relationships with historically underserved groups including the LGBT community,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s spokesman Kevin Harris said on Tuesday. “Our commitment to those principles still stand.”
The ACLU said the warrantless home entry and arrest violated Ms. Hunter’s Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures as well as a D.C. law prohibiting most warrantless arrests for alleged misdemeanors.
The court filing says the arrest followed a disagreement between Ms. Hunter and her neighbors about noise levels from the party. Four police officers arrived, spoke with Ms. Hunter outside of her home and then followed her into the apartment. One officer then grabbed her by the arm and neck and handcuffed the woman, according to the complaint.
“The officers told Ms. Hunter she was being arrested for assault, placed her in handcuffs, dragged her out of her apartment, and held her in custody for hours,” the ACLU statement says.
The filing claims Ms. Hunter suffered a pinched nerve in her arm from being handcuffed as well as exacerbated osteo-arthritis in her knee, back pain and the “emotional distress and humiliation of the arrest in front of friends and colleagues.”
Following the arrest, the U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute Ms. Hunter.