The New York legal professional common sued the NYPD final summer season for brutality towards peaceable protesters
New York Attorney General Letitia James leads the police impunity charges in connection with the numerous incidents of NYPD brutality officials against people who peacefully demonstrated against racial injustice in the city last summer.
On Thursday, the attorney general announced that her office had filed a lawsuit against the police department, her chief and commissioner, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York. The complaint accuses the NYPD of using excessive force against New Yorkers over the years, and most recently during the 2020 protests against the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.
As The Root reported at the time, NYC police – like others across the country – were seen driving their patrol cars into a crowd of protesters last summer and even pulling down a young black protester’s mask to put pepper spray right on his face .
The federal complaint filed by James against the NYPD lists these and several other incidents and accuses officials of causing serious harm to protesters and violating their fundamental rights.
From a press release about the lawsuit:
In one case, Luke Hanna, who was taking part in a June 3 protest in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza, was hit in the back of the head with a baton without provocation or explanation while he was complying with a police diversion policy. The baton hit caused such a severe cut that it took Hanna ten clips in his head to close it. Neither the policeman who hit Hanna nor any other policeman nearby looked for or treated Hanna’s wound with medical help, and Hanna was neither arrested nor charged with a crime.
In another case, Andrew Smith, who was attending a protest in Brooklyn on May 30, had his COVID-19 face mask pulled down by an officer for no warning or reason and was given pepper spray on his face. As a result of the pepper spray, Smith suffered severe stinging of his eyes and face, hours of exacerbation of eczema in the neck, and difficulty removing and wearing contact lenses for at least a week after the incident. Smith also suffered from stress and fear that he was exposed to COVID-19 when the officer removed his face mask. Smith was neither arrested nor charged with a crime, and did not receive medical attention from any of the officers nearby, in violation of NYPD guidelines. Following the incident, the officer who sprayed Smith was captured by body-worn camera images. He asked his colleagues if they had used their pepper spray and boasted, “I took off the man’s goggles, tore off the SR and used it.”
The story goes on
The lawsuit also cites the NYPD, which was kettling protesters – including a pregnant woman – in a confined space during a demonstration in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx in June and an investigation by the Attorney General’s office expelled, which found NYPD police used unreasonable violence against demonstrators, repeatedly beating them with pepper spray, batons and even bicycles between May and December last year.
“Nobody is above the law – not even the people in charge of enforcement,” James said of the lawsuit seeking a court order declaring NYPD’s conduct during the protests to be illegal, as well as the installation a monitor overseeing the department’s practices during future protests. “The NYPD and its senior leaders did not address this longstanding pattern of abuse by failing to properly train, supervise, and discipline officials to prevent wrongdoing, even though they knew and publicly admitted that it violated New Yorker’s rights.
“I could no longer agree that there are urgent reforms that must and will be implemented this year,” de Blasio told CNN in response to the lawsuit. “This work is critical and is ongoing. Legal proceedings and the additional bureaucracy of a federal monitor will not speed up this work. “
Well, I’m glad someone somewhere is legally holding police accountable for the treatment of protesters who stand up against racism, especially compared to how we recently saw police officers treating white people who engage in all kinds of violent behavior brought to the US Capitol. So far, lukewarm reforms have done little to thwart the NYPD’s downright hostile behavior towards anything related to blacks.