New York Attorney General Letitia James is taking the New York Police Department to task for its treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer and she’s got the receipts!
James announced she filed a lawsuit today against the department and its leadership to “end its pattern of using excessive force” and making false arrests against New Yorkers during peaceful protests.
In the complaint, James outlines the NYPD’s illegal and harmful conduct against protesters during recent demonstrations calling for racial justice as well as incidents from years prior. She said the NYPD’s behavior led to “significant injuries” and violated people’s basic right to peacefully protest.
The lawsuit specifically charges the NYPD, the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Chief Terence Monahan with failing to address the “longstanding pattern of abuse by not properly training, supervising, and disciplining officers to prevent misconduct,” even though they knew and admitted that they violated the rights of New Yorkers.
Just so they can’t say James’ claims are baseless, she lays out dozens of examples of the NYPD’s blatant use of excessive force and other misconduct in the complaint, including the “indiscriminate, unjustified, and repeated use of batons, pepper spray, bicycles, and a crowd-control tactic known as ‘kettling’ against peaceful protesters.”
She alleges NYPD officers also unlawfully arrested legal observers, medics, and other workers performing essential services without probable cause that were also in direct violation of executive orders from Mayor de Blasio.
Not to mention, a lot of this stuff was caught on video over the summer.
The lawsuit seeks broad injunctive relief, including systemic reforms to the NYPD as well as the implementation of a monitor to oversee the NYPD’s policing tactics in future protests and to ensure compliance with the law.
“There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters,” said Attorney General James. “Over the past few months, the NYPD has repeatedly and blatantly violated the rights of New Yorkers, inflicting significant physical and psychological harm and leading to great distrust in law enforcement. With today’s lawsuit, this longstanding pattern of brutal and illegal force ends. No one is above the law — not even the individuals charged with enforcing it.”
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