New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James in February 2020. Picture from Wikimedia Commons.
New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that the New York Metropolis Police Division used “extreme drive” in opposition to peaceable racial justice protesters final yr.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the protesters’ First, Fourth and 14th Modification rights, parallel provisions within the New York Structure, and the state’s widespread legislation. Defendants embody New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio and police officers.
“There isn’t a query that the NYPD engaged in a sample of extreme, brutal and illegal drive in opposition to peaceable protesters,” James stated in a press release. “Nobody is above the legislation—not even the people charged with implementing it.”
The go well with claims that police officers have failed to deal with a long-standing sample of abuse throughout protests. Unconstitutional techniques final yr included unjustified use of batons, pepper spray, bicycles and a crowd-control tactic referred to as “kettling,” the go well with says.
Police additionally wrongly arrested authorized observers, medics and others offering important providers, the go well with alleges.
In a single occasion, the go well with says, an officer struck protester Luke Hanna at the back of the top with a baton with out provocation. Hanna required 10 stitches to his head.
In one other occasion, an officer pulled down the face masks of Andrew Smith and pepper-sprayed him within the face. After the incident, physique digital camera footage confirmed the officer bragging, “I took the man’s goggles, I ripped the s- – – off, and I used it.”
In one other occasion, police used kettling to entice and arrest protesters about a number of minutes earlier than curfew, then didn’t let the protesters go away. Not less than 250 folks had been arrested for violating curfew, and a number of other had been shoved or hit with batons, the go well with says.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had requested the state lawyer basic to analyze after violent clashes between the NYPD and protesters. A report discovered that unjustified use of drive was so frequent and pervasive as to represent customized or utilization by the police division.
James is asking a courtroom to declare that the NYPD’s practices had been illegal and to nominate a monitor to supervise policing practices at future protests.