PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of people arrested after an armed standoff along a Massachusetts highway that challenged state courts’ jurisdiction over their case.
Rhode Island-based U.S. District Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr. dismissed the complaint brought by the Rise of the Moors group, saying in his decision Tuesday “this court must abstain from hearing such challenges” based on a precedent “which reflects a longstanding policy against federal court interference with state court proceedings.”
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island also alleged defamation and discrimination.
McConnell’s ruling said there is “an absence of any clear defamation allegations” in the suit, which sought $70 million in damages.
The Massachusetts State Police and several individual troopers, a Massachusetts state judge, the state as a whole, and several media organizations were named as defendants.
The plaintiffs represented themselves and no defense attorney was listed in court documents.
Eleven people associated with the Rhode Island-based group were arrested last month after an early morning standoff along Interstate 95 in Wakefield.
They were dressed in military-style clothing and body armor and were armed with long guns and pistols, police said. They did not have licenses to carry firearms in Massachusetts, police said. They remain held.
The self-described leader of the group said they were a militia traveling from Rhode Island to Maine for training.