A Seattle pastor, Reverend John Michael Helmiere, who was brutally beaten during a protest, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging his First Amendment rights were violated, that he was subjected to excessive force, and that he was subjected to a wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.

The lawsuit stems from an incident during a protest outside of Harbor Island pier in December of 2011. Helmiere, a United Methodist pastor who leads Valley & Mountain Fellowship in Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood, was dragged from the crowd by cops during the protest, then thrown to the ground and viciously assaulted by an officer, leaving him bloodied, with cuts and bruises on his face.

Helmiere, a Yale Divinity School graduate, believes his constitutional rights were violated, and filed the federal suit in hopes of changing the way Seattle cops treat the public they are alleged to serve.

“Jesus talked about forgiveness for individuals. But really, this is less about the individual police officers … than the system they represent. The system needs to be held accountable,” said Helmiere, according to Seattlepi.com.

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