ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The lawsuit is moving forward against a local militia group for its role in a violent protest last summer. The Bernalillo County district attorney brought the suit against the New Mexico Civil Guard. Its members showed up armed to a protest against the Juan de Onate statue in Old Town saying they were there to protect the statue from the crowd.

After gunfire erupted, Civil Guard members surrounded the man who shot and wounded a protester although no Civil Guard members were involved in the shooting. The group tried to get the suit thrown out saying they were simply exercising their First and Second Amendment rights but a judge rejected that argument meaning the lawsuit can move ahead.

The district attorney’s office calls the Civil Guard a right-wing extremist group and accuses its members of acting as vigilantes. “It’s just not right for any group to think they have the power to take the role of the police, take the role of the militia, or go out and threaten other citizens,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez.

The DA says it’s working to get social media records showing how the group organized extremist activity. The Civil Guard had filed a lawsuit of its own against the city arguing they were singled out by police and illegally detained after the protest.