In an interview, Quiñonez said he had a jovial relationship with U.S. Postal Service employees, who knew he frequently mailed out clothing items with expedited shipping. Those relationships went cold after his items were seized, he said, as did some of his business relationships with activists.
“When there’s an organization or a company that now has a reputation for being a target of law enforcement, people don’t want to do business with them,” Quiñonez said. “Even the people that are like-minded, that know that there are fundamental flaws in the way that we address things, they need to protect their interests. So we lost business.”
The seizure of the masks “created a pall of suspicion, distraction, uncertainty, and confusion around René and Movement Ink,” the lawsuit states. The “baseless seizures and searches,” the lawsuit states, caused significant emotional and mental distress “not just because of his and Movement Ink’s financial and reputational hits, but because he and Movement Ink have been effectively shut out of a movement and a community that they spent (and continue to spend) years investing their time and energy in.”
“Instead of focusing on printing and shipping political Covid-protective masks and other apparel, René and Movement Ink had to waste time figuring out why their innocuous packages were in the hands of law enforcement, and how to get them released, while also fielding questions, concerns, and even accusations from partners, community members, and social media commenters,” the lawsuit reads. “René, Movement Ink, and their partners were left wondering why these Covid- protective political masks were in the hands of law enforcement officials instead of on the faces of political protestors.”