COLUMBUS – Today, July 15, the ACLU of Ohio filed a motion for summary judgment in the Southern District of Ohio asking the Court to rule that two Columbus Police officers used excessive force against the Plaintiffs Ellen Abdur-Rahim and Harrison Kallner. The officers unconstitutionally pepper sprayed Abdur-Rahim and Kallner at close range on January 30, 2017 while the activists were peacefully demonstrating in opposition to President Trump’s Muslim Ban. The lawsuit was filed on July 12, 2017.

“The police body and dash camera footage that came out in this case clearly shows the officers targeting and maliciously assaulting our clients. Our clients were peacefully exercising their rights to dissent against the state when the officers pepper sprayed them in the face and eyes at less than an arm’s length away,” said Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “The police used pepper spray against the entire demonstration, and after our clients were injured by it and trying to leave the area, the police followed them and attacked them again.”

The motion for summary judgment pertains exclusively to the state and federal assault claims against the individual officers. The ACLU of Ohio will prove their remaining claims—that the Columbus police also violated the protesters’ First Amendment rights, and did so according to a policy and practice by the Police Department—at a jury trial in February.

“The disturbing visuals confirm that the officers maliciously targeted our clients, and pepper sprayed them at close range, after taunting them and planning their attack for anyone within earshot to hear. The police officers’ actions were gratuitous displays of unlawful force, and we file this motion today to ensure our clients receive the justice delayed to them over the past two and a half years,” added Bonham. “We will take this case all the way to trial to ensure that future peaceful protesters are not subject to the same violence and cruelty from the Columbus Police Department.”

A copy of the motion for summary judgment is available.


On Friday, July 12th, the Columbus Police filed their motion for summary judgement.