(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A local activist is suing the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly violating her First and Fourth Amendment Rights, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jacqueline Armendariz Unzueta and the Chinook Center– a hub for activist organizations. The complaint accuses CSPD and the FBI of illegally searching personal devices and private social media chats of Unzueta and the Chinook Center following a housing rights march back in July 2021.

  • Local activist sues Colorado Springs police and FBI for unlawful search and seizure
  • Local activist sues Colorado Springs police and FBI for unlawful search and seizure
  • Local activist sues Colorado Springs police and FBI for unlawful search and seizure

In body-worn camera footage provided to FOX21 by the Chinook Center, Unzueta was seen throwing her bike down on the ground as an officer ran to help control a crowd of protestors.

“I dropped my bike in reaction to seeing a riot cop charge the crowd and then dog piling other protesters…” stated Unzueta. “I [was] thinking, they’re coming for me next. It fell next to him near his path. He completely avoided it, never touched him.”

Police later charged Unzueta of attempted aggravated assault on an officer– a second degree felony. She was later offered a deferred sentence preventing any convictions to stay on her record.

Unzueta and the Chinook Center further alleged CSPD and the FBI of using minor criminal charges as the basis for unjustified search warrants, according to the lawsuit. Leaders of the Chinook Center are also wanting more police accountability.

“She dropped her bike and they said, ‘Okay, that’s a crime,’ which is ridiculous in and of itself,” said Jon Christiansen, Executive member of the Chinook Center. “You don’t need to get into people’s electronic devices because somebody dropped their bike at a protest.”

  • Local activist sues Colorado Springs police and FBI for unlawful search and seizure

The complaint continues to accuse CSPD and the FBI of unlawfully searching and seizing property of activists who were targeted for their beliefs.

“I had my home invaded and all my electronic devices confiscated and accused of a felony crime when I’m actually just an innocent person who was speaking about what I believe in…” stated Unzueta.

Unzueta said authorities tried to criminalize activists for voicing political opinions such as ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and in Unzueta’s case, her belief that ‘White supremacy is domestic terrorism.’

“Those aren’t radical ideas. Those are truths that CSPD seems to really dislike,” Unzueta said. “CSPD has a pattern and practice of violating people’s civil rights in an effort to retaliate, intimidate us into silence.”

Christiansen added the importance of having a community that feels safe speaking up against the city and the police department without being afraid of retaliation.

“[CSPD] needs to be doing investigations of crimes themselves, not investigations of organizations and people who they think have a problematic ideology,” Christiansen stated.

CSPD provided a statement to FOX21 News:

As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation. We believe that it is in the best interests of all parties involved to allow the legal process to take its course without interference. We will, however, provide updates as they become available.

Colorado Springs Police Department