An advocate for marijuana law reform has filed a $10,420 federal claim against Rep. Andy Harris, alleging the Maryland Republican bruised her leg by slamming an office door during a demonstration and damaged her reputation by suggesting she initiated a physical confrontation.
“I was trying to speak to the congressman about how cannabis saved my life,” said RachelRamone Donlan in a news release Wednesday. "But instead of pausing to listen, he slammed the door on my leg and knee.”
The release, issued by fellow marijuana rights activist Adam Eidinger, said Donlan filed a Form 95 complaint with the U.S. House of Representatives. The form is used to present claims for injury or damage "allegedly caused by a federal employee's negligence or wrongful act or omission," according to the Justice Department website.
Mark Goldstone, Donlan’s attorney, said her claims would be investigated by the House general counsel’s office.
In a statement after the Oct. 2 demonstration in Washington, the Baltimore County lawmaker offered a different version of events. The congressman's office said the protesters "sought to forcibly enter the office" as Harris entered through a private door, "bruising his wrist as they tried to force the door open."
Harris addressed Donlan’s complaint Wednesday in an email reply to The Baltimore Sun.
“Since this involves a legal claim, I can have no comment at this time — except that the fact that the court imposed a ‘stay away’ order as a result of her actions that day speaks for itself. The timing of this claim certainly suggests this is a blatantly political ploy.”
Goldstone said a magistrate judge on the District of Columbia Superior Court issued the order following a negotiation with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington.
U.S. Capitol Police had arrested Donlan and another demonstrator on charges of consumption of marijuana in a prohibited public space.
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