Court sides with President Trump supporters in riot civil rights lawsuit

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with attorney Harmeet Dhillon's clients in the San Jose anti-President Trump riot civil rights lawsuit filed in 2016.

The decision denies qualified immunity to the San Jose police officials who Dhillon says forced Trump supporters to walk into a riot.

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The rally was held on June 2, 2016.

Juan Hernandez says he is a proud President Trump supporter but also says his support of then-candidate Trump cost him greatly in June of 2016.

Hernandez vividly remembers images as Trump supporters left a rally in San Jose. Hernandez says they found themselves in the thick of a riot. "It was really scary because the cops aren't doing anything, they were just watching everything happen," said Hernandez.

"They started coming to us and they attacked us, we weren't inciting anything, we weren't saying anything to them," he continued.

Hernandez says he suffered a broken nose, bruising, concussion and scratches. "Someone needs to be held accountable for it," said Hernandez.

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Dhillon says a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals now makes that possible.

The court ruled 3-0 in Dhillon's favor that the San Jose police officers present that night do not have qualified immunity.

Dhillon argued the officers created a situation in which Trump supporters had to walk through the violence.

"There were another number of routes to safety that citizens could have taken and they were all blocked by the police," said Dhillon.

Dhillon says protesters hit her clients in the head with rocks, sucker punched them and tore their glasses off.

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"All of them were assaulted in the course of this riot and had to flee for their lives and the police stood there and watched them being assaulted," said Dhillon.

The decision means the case will now go back to trial court.

"It's an exception because officers cannot claim qualified immunity if they have created a danger by virtue of what they did," said ABC News Legal Analyst Gil Soffer.

The San Jose Police Department directed ABC7 News to the City Attorney's Office for comment. The City Attorney is out of the office until Monday.

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon is also seeking an order from the court that San Jose has proper procedures in place so this won't happen again in the future.

Full coverage on President Donald Trump here.
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