Detroit Will Breathe Federal Lawsuit Fund

On Monday, August 31, 2020, Detroit Will Breathe and fourteen individuals filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Detroit, Mayor Duggan, and Chief Craig. Detroit Will Breathe is represented by attorneys Jack Schulz and Amanda Ghannam of Schulz Law PLC, William Goodman and Julie Hurwitz of Goodman Hurwitz PLC, and Sean Riddell of the Riddell Law Firm.

The City, through the Detroit Police Department, has continuously violated demonstrators’ First Amendment right to protest, Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force, unlawful arrest, and punitive conditions of detainment; and the right to be free from state-sponsored retaliation for conveying a message of racial justice under 42 U.S.C. 1981.

This lawsuit prioritizes injunctive relief for all demonstrators, i.e., a court-ordered stop to abusive police practices including unlawful arrests, beating demonstrators with batons and shields, placing demonstrators in chokeholds, tear-gassing and pepper-spraying demonstrators, shooting demonstrators with rubber bullets, and more. 

The plaintiffs are also putting pressure on the defendants by seeking damages and financial compensation for injuries and legal expenses.
*The team of volunteer attorneys with the National Lawyers Guild is trying to establish the infrastructure to talk to other people with potential claims. Once this structure is in place, DWB will be sharing how other demonstrators can seek relief through legal proceedings. This lawsuit does not prevent individuals from seeking other council or retaining other attorneys outside the NLG. 

You can view the full complaint and motion for temporary restraining order Here  and Here

Detroit Will Breathe is asking supporters to donate to help with legal expenses, specifically, the costs of litigation. These costs can be high and will likely include, for example (not an exhaustive list):

- Filing fees for court filings: for example, it costs $400 just to file a complaint.
- Costs of discovery: our attorneys will be taking the depositions of Mayor Duggan, Chief Craig, and the individual police officers named as defendants, some of whom are yet to be identified. More defendants may also be added as the case proceeds. Our plaintiffs will also have their depositions taken. We will have to pay court reporters for the deposition transcripts to be used in briefing and trial; which typically cost around $800-$1500 per each individual.
- Expert witnesses: To seek a court-ordered injunction against DPD’s abusive and unlawful tactics, we will have to employ expert witnesses which can also cost money.

This GoFundMe has been set up separately from Detroit Will Breathe’s General Fund in an effort to be transparent.

The money in the General Fund has already been used for other types of expenses, for example: water and snacks for participants of our marches, rent for our meeting space, gas for support cars, supplies for street medics, printing costs for flyers, megaphones and other audio equipment, etc. 

While litigation and legal costs are certainly part of the effort  to sustain and empower the movement as a whole, we want to be sure everyone is able to have as much information as possible before deciding to make their donation to a legal cause. 

We have decided to temporarily disable the donation button on the General Fund in order to focus on raising money for litigation costs exclusively. Should the DWB organizing team determine more funds are needed for general expenses, we will turn the donate button back on. Should our legal team determine more money is needed for litigation, we will raise the goal accordingly on this campaign. All funds raised on this campaign will be deposited into the Detroit Will Breathe organizational bank account, then transferred to our lawyers to pay expenses. 

If anyone has any questions about the lawsuit, please feel free to reach out to DWB leadership or on social media. We look forward to giving donors and supporters updates whenever possible.

Thank you so much for the support!

In Solidarity,
Detroit Will Breathe

Connect with us:
- Facebook at Detroit Will Breathe:
https://www.facebook.com/detroitwillbreathe 
- Twitter at @detwillbreathe:
https://www.twitter.com/detwillbreathe 
- Instagram at @detroitwillbreathe #detroitwillbreathe
https://www.instagram.com/detroitwillbreathe 
- Sign up for our mailing list:
https://www.actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-for-detroit-will-breathe-updates


Cover photo by Marc Klockow
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Fundraising team (2)

Nakia Wallace 
Organizer
Raised $5,948 from 151 donations
Detroit, MI
Lauren Rosen 
Team member
Raised $524 from 17 donations
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