Demonstrator files lawsuit after low-flying National Guard helicopter used during protest

The ACLU of Washington, D.C. has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a demonstrator who claims she was injured when a National Guard helicopter flew low to the ground over a protest she was a part of in 2020.

Dzhuliya Dashtamirova, 25, of Baltimore says she was participating in a demonstration in downtown D.C. on June 1, 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s killing when a National Guard helicopter flew low over the crowd.

Dashtamirova alleges that the tactic was being used to disperse the crowds. She says the force of the wind hurled dirt and broken glass at the group, ripped branches off trees, and tore signs from buildings.

"My eyes and skin stung from debris. I couldn’t hear anything over the extremely powerful winds," Dashtamirova said. "For weeks afterward, I had horrible migraines and lost sleep. I kept trying to figure out why the military attacked us, and I kept worrying that it would happen again."

"This helicopter attack was a dangerous and shocking show of force against Americans exercising their First Amendment rights," said Michael Perloff, Staff Attorney for ACLU-D.C. "This lawsuit is an important way to hold our government accountable for the injury and terror they caused and to prevent another attack on people demonstrating in the Nation’s capital."

Dashtamirova is seeking $200,000 in damages in her complaint.