LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Nearly 40 people arrested last summer while protesting the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police, have filed suit against Los Angeles County and three Southland cities alleging their civil rights were violated.

FILE: Arrestees are loaded onto a sheriff’s department bus to be taken to jail as large numbers of people are arrested after a curfew went into effect during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd on June 02, 2020 in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

“Despite the plain language protection granted through federal and state constitutions alike, the defendants city of Los Angeles, county of Los Angeles, city of Santa Monica, city of Beverly Hills and other municipalities throughout California have taken direct action to silence the voices of the oppressed,” the suit states.

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The lawsuit, filed Friday by several attorneys, alleges many of the plaintiffs were rounded up, separated by perceived gender, placed on buses and driven to undisclosed locations.

“Additionally, some of defendants’ transport buses unwittingly carried plaintiffs to the Los Angeles National Cemetery,” according to the suit. “This location was used to harass, intimidate and cause the intentional infliction of emotional distress to those arrested for peacefully protesting the systemic mistreatment of people of color.”

The suit also alleges that the plaintiffs were routinely denied food, water, access to bathrooms and, in some cases, contacts with lawyers despite repeated requests.

“Plaintiffs were forced to urinate on themselves after hours of unlawful detainment, causing severe emotional distress and humiliation,” the suit states.

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According to the lawsuit, law enforcement agents “instituted systematic efforts of torture and ridicule throughout plaintiffs’ detention” that included playing music such as “Africa” by Toto and Bad Religion’s “Los Angeles is Burning” in an effort to interfere with the plaintiffs’ ability to post videos of their treatment.

The suit also alleges that many of the plaintiffs were intentionally left in close quarters with maskless law enforcement agents, social distancing and sanitation guidelines were ignored and the zip-tied protesters were unable to adjust their fallen masks.

“As such, defendants weaponized the COVID-19 virus as punishment for the expression of truthful speech,” the complaint states.

A representative for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached by City News Service.

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