Detroit Police countersues Detroit Will Breathe for 'civil conspiracy'

The Detroit Police Department and the protest group Detroit Will Breathe have gone from arguing on the streets of Detroit to arguing in the courtroom as the police department is now countersuing the group saying it is liable for civil conspiracy.

The police department countersued the organization in court on Monday.

Tristan Taylor said of the over 150 marches, only a handful included clashes with police. Those clashes, however, amounted to a lawsuit filed against the police department and the city of Detroit in late August that led to several injunctions.

"They will under that injunction for the duration of this lawsuit which could be a few years actually," Taylor said.

The August lawsuit led to several injunctions that ban certain tactics used by Detroit police against peaceful protesters. Chief James Craig said they've only used that force in response to violence from protesters.

In response to the August suit, the city is now countersuing saying that Detroit Will Breathe's initial lawsuit resulted in a conspiracy against the department.

Detroit WIll Breathe is trying to get the countersuit dismissed and have the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union. Taylor says this is a big boost.

"I think it underscores our point about the importance of maintaining and defending the right of free speech and protest," Taylor said.

FOX 2 reached out to the city on Monday who issued a statement that the line had to be drawn.

"Public criticism of the Detroit Police Department is free speech and always allowed. However, the Plaintiffs acted together to violate the law and sow unrest. That is where we draw the line," the city said.

Taylor said police need to be responsible for their actions.

"The end game is to make sure that we operate in a city where police officers don’t act with impunity," Taylor said.

A judge will ultimately determine whether or not to toss the countersuit.