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In a historic class action, New York City agrees to pay $13 million to 2020 racial injustice protesters

By 07/20/2023 4:30 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


A civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of over 1,300 people who were detained or physically assaulted by police amid racial injustice protests that erupted in the city during the summer of 2020 has been settled for more than $13 million by New York City.

The settlement, which was submitted to a judge on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, would rank among the most expensive settlements ever made in a case involving several arrests, according to experts.

The lawsuit concentrated on 18 of the several protests that broke out in New York City the week after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, those who were detained or subjected to force by NYPD officers at those gatherings will each be entitled to $9,950 in compensation.

The deal, one of several that came about as a result of the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations, enables the city to avoid a trial that may be both expensive and politically contentious.

In response to Floyd’s death, which sparked a period of turmoil that saw 10,000 people detained in a matter of days, protestors spilled into the streets to denounce racial police violence.

Many other American communities are currently negotiating their own settlements with these protesters.

National Lawyers Guild lawyers, who defended the plaintiffs in New York, charged NYPD officials with violating the First Amendment rights of demonstrators through a “coordinated” campaign of indiscriminate brutality and wrongful detentions.

Attorneys for the city argued throughout the more than two years of litigation that police were reacting to a chaotic and unusual scenario, including some disorderly protests where police vehicles were set on fire and officers were attacked with rocks and plastic bottles.

An NYPD representative referred inquiries to the city’s Law Department, which did not provide any additional information. Officers attacked nonviolent protestors during some of the 2020 protest marches using the crowd control technique known as kettling, corralling them in small areas and hitting them with batons and pepper spray before making mass arrests.

One of the identified plaintiffs in the complaint, Adama Sow, said that the protesters’ group was unexpectedly cornered by the police.

Sow and the other arrestees were held for several hours in a scorching jail bus after being put in zip ties until their hands became purple. Sow remarked, “It was so disorganized, but so intentional.

“They appeared determined to traumatize everyone.” The city defended the decision to arrest medical professionals and legal observers as being within the department’s powers by using qualified immunity, which shields police officers from litigation arising from legal work done in the course of duty.


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