DC protester seeks monetary damages linked to low-flying National Guard choppers

One of the protesters who was demonstrating in D.C. on a night when the military was captured on video flying helicopters closely over crowds is seeking financial compensation for physical and mental injuries.

In an administrative claim filed with the D.C. National Guard, the American Civil Liberties Union said the actions on the night of June 1 “caused harmful or offensive bodily contact, and inflicted severe emotional distress through extreme and outrageous conduct” to their client.

Social media videos posted that evening reveal at least two military choppers hovering over parts of D.C., where hours earlier, authorities cleared an area near Lafayette Square.

The complaint from the ACLU of D.C. said 23-year old Dzhuliya Dashtamirova, who traveled to D.C from Baltimore that day to demonstrate, suffered injuries to her body and face when one of the aircrafts kicked up debris over 7th Street near Gallery Place. She experienced eye irritation for days following the incident.

“My eyes and skin were burning from all the debris flying everywhere. I couldn’t see anything,” Dashtamirova said in a separate written statement from the ACLU. “I was afraid that troops would storm out of the helicopter and tear gas me or shoot me with rubber bullets.”

For several weeks afterward, the ACLU alleges Dashtamirova also “lost sleep, struggled to concentrate at work, and spent hours trying to process the incident and grapple with her fears that it would occur again.”

“This was a dangerous, unprecedented show of force against American civilians exercising their First Amendment rights,” said ACLU attorney Michael Perloff. “The streets of D.C. are not a war zone, and protesters are not the enemy. Our government should stop treating them that way.”

The D.C. National Guard was already investigating the evening in question, during which a Lakota with a red cross medical evacuation insignia and a Blackhawk began to circle closely over the demonstrators between Gallery Place and Judiciary Square.

The claim is seeking $200,000 in damages under the Federal Tort Reform Claims Act.

The D.C. National Guard hasn’t returned WTOP’s request for comment.

WTOP has not immediately heard back from the D.C. National Guard for comment on the claim.

Members of the National Guard block an intersection on Monday night.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Protesters holds their hands up as a military helicopter flies low pushing a strong vertical down wash of air (rotor wash) onto the crowd during a protest over the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020. – President Donald Trump vowed Monday to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

D.C. Police hold a line along M Street, blocking a group of protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue from entering Georgetown. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Police blocked a group of protesters between 14th and 15th St. NW at Swann St.

Helicopters flew low late on Monday night in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood after a small number of demonstrators moved into the area. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Demonstrators wait in a police vehicle after being taken into custody as they protested the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. The arrests occurred after a curfew went into effect in Washington.

With tears in her eyes, a demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Demonstrators react as a helicopter circles low as people gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A military Humvee blocks an intersection along K Street in downtown Washington as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump walks from the White House through Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s Church Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Police begin to clear demonstrators gathered as they protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

A demonstrator is taken into custody by police after a curfew took effect during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Police prepare transport vehicles for people who they arrest during protests over the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

U.S. Park Police string security tape around Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Workmen board up the windows of a building ahead of demonstrations against the death of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trucks transport D.C. National Guard troops along West Executive Drive in support of law enforcement officers that are keeping demonstrators away from the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Secret Service officers stand on the roof of the West Wing while keeping watch on protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Secret Service walk past the White House as protests over the death of George Floyd continue on Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Police officers hold a perimeter near the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the killing of George Floyd on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Protesters take a knee and raise their fists in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020.

A cyclist rides pass an armored vehicle heading towards Lafayette Square on 16th Street, as people protest the death of George Floyd, in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

A demonstrator walks by graffiti in Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

People protest the death of George Floyd near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd down the street from the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

People protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, outside Lafayette Square near the White House in D.C. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Vehicles for the D.C. National Guard are seen outside the D.C. Armory, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Protests have erupted across the U.S. to protest the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Shattered window and door glass is scattered on the floor inside Mervis Diamond Importers in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night of protests over the death of George Floyd.

A damaged cash machine is seen in Washington on I Street NW, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, during a news conference to announce a new 7 p.m. curfew for the city for the next two nights. Across the U.S., people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

An ATF officer walks out of Lafayette Park on H Street NW, on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests sparked by the death of George Floyd occurred near the White House.

afl-cio building
A worker cleans graffiti off the AFL-CIO building on 16th Street NW in D.C., on Monday, June 1, 2020, after weekend protests.

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Park of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
afl-cio building

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