New York City has agreed to pay out over $13 million in a settlement with protesters over their treatment during arrests by police in 2020.
On Wednesday (July 19th), the settlement amount of $13.7 million was agreed to by city officials. The settlement is in response to a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of 1,300 individuals who were arrested and/or beaten by members of the New York Police Department during protests over the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Once approved by a judge, the settlement would rank among the most expensive ever recorded. Other cities are in the process of negotiating their own settlements with those who filled streets across the country in outrage.
“Today’s settlement is historic, and I’m very proud that it will bring some sense of justice to nearly 1,400 people who took to the streets and put their bodies on the line against police brutality,” attorney Wylie Stecklow said with other attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild representing the plaintiffs in a press conference at Foley Square in lower Manhattan afterward. Plaintiffs described their treatment in testimony during the two years of litigation to the press, including “kettling” or forcibly boxing people into a tight space and having zip ties placed on them until their hands turned purple as described by Adam Sow. “It was so disorganized but so intentional,” they said. “They seemed set on traumatizing everyone.”
If approved, each plaintiff in the suit would be slated to receive $9,950. There is another class action settlement that was announced in March which would award over $21,000 to those who were arrested by the NYPD at one protest in the Bronx. Over 600 other people have filed suits against the city, costing over $12 million to date. The city has denied any unconstitutional practices. “There is no history — or present or future — of unconstitutional policing,” Georgia Pestana, an attorney for the city, wrote in a legal filing. “There is no frequent deprivation of constitutional rights.” The Law Department of the city released a statement saying, “The NYPD has improved numerous practices to address the challenges it faced at protests during the pandemic. This settlement was in the best interests of all parties.”
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