A Utah family has sued the U.S. military after they say they were targeted for alleged retaliation for living near a military base and a training center, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The family filed a lawsuit in Utah District Court on Thursday against the U-Militia, the Department of Defense, and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of the Zephyrhills, according to the Tribune.
The lawsuit says the military targeted the family for allegedly “disrespecting, disparaging, and threatening” the military and “violating the rights of the United States citizens who live near the military base.”
It also says that the military “threatened” to send members of the family to the base in a raid in May 2016.
The Zephyrs filed the lawsuit on behalf the family of a man who was killed in the raid, according the Tribune, and said they were forced to leave the military’s “safe zone” in Utah in February 2016.
Their family members were later deported, according with the Tribune: The family of the man who died in the May 2016 raid was forced to return to Utah on Feb. 8, 2016, to live with relatives in an undisclosed location in Utah after their family was targeted for retaliation, according court documents.
The Utah Department for Public Safety and the state Department of Human Services have denied the family’s allegations and said the military did not threaten them.
A federal judge has ordered the UMMF to pay the family $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
The UMMFs lawsuit says it is “unable to determine whether the military was retaliating against the Zephyrs based on the Plaintiffs’ affiliation with the United Nations Human Rights Council or on their support for the Council and other human rights organizations.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf by the Zeps, whose name is now on a national registry of U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Arbitrary Detention, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, the Tribune reported on Thursday.
The couple, whose names are redacted, say they had been living near the base for nearly 20 years, and that they were “fearful of the military retaliation and its effect on them and their families.”
The Zeps are also suing the UMP, claiming it “misrepresented” that they and their family members would be forced to relocate and that the move was based on a “security threat.”