Who are James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby? Trump sued by Capitol cops for 'inflaming insurrectionist mob'
WASHINGTON, DC: Two Capitol police officers who battled pro-Trumpers who stormed the Capitol on January 6 have sued former President Donald Trump. In a federal suit filed on Tuesday, March 30, in Washington DC, officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby have alleged that Trump rallied the insurrectionists with baseless election fraud claims — something that eventually culminated in the breach of the Capitol that left five, including a Capitol police officer, dead.
Earlier this year, Gus Papathanasiou, the head of the Capitol Police officers’ union said that about 140 officers were injured during the insurrection. “I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained head injuries,” Papathanasiou said. “One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, to name some of the injuries.”
Capitol Police Officer Brian D Sicknick died after trying to defend the Capitol from rioters. One Capitol Police officer and one DC police officer who were responding on the scene reportedly killed themselves later. Since January 6, 38 Capitol Police employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and most of them were officers and supervisors who responded to the riot, Papathanasiou said in a statement in January.
Who are James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby?
As per the lawsuit, both United States Capitol Police Officers reported for duty on January 6, 2021, “without any suspicion that they would soon become the targets of Trump’s followers.” Blassingame is reportedly a 17-year veteran in the force. Hemby has been on the force for 11 years.
Both have alleged that Trump was directly responsible for inciting a mob of his supporters who had gathered at his “Stop the Steal” rally outside the White House earlier that morning. Hemby was allegedly “crushed against the doors" of the Capitol, was allegedly "sprayed with chemicals" and bled from his face, as per the lawsuit. Blassingame, on the other hand, has claimed he was slammed against a stone column, injuring his head and back. Each of the officers is seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
“The insurrectionist mob, which Trump had inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted, forced its way over and past the plaintiffs and their fellow officers, pursuing and attacking them inside and outside the United States Capitol, and causing the injuries complained of herein,” the suit stated.
The lawsuit from Blassingame and Hemby also described the terror that the officers experienced inside the Capitol — law enforcement was vastly outnumbered by the pro-Trump mob. The lawsuit said Blassingame has since suffered from depression and that the "severe emotional toll... continues to reveal itself."
Blassingame is allegedly “haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts — the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface," the lawsuit claimed. "He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not."
The lawsuit also claimed that Blassingame was called a racial slur throughout the assault, saying, "He lost count of the many times the racial slur was hurled at him."