Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
New York mayor, NYPD sued over police brutality during protests
MagicToto / Pixabay
New York mayor, NYPD sued over police brutality during protests

The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit Monday against the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Mayor Bill de Blasio over police violence against protesters following the murder of George Floyd. The suit names de Blasio, along with the City of New York, Chief of Department for the NYPD Terence Monahan, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, and several individual police officers “for their roles in the indiscriminate brutalizing of peaceful protesters” during the protests.

The suit focuses on the first month of the protests, which took place between May 28 and June 28, stating that “swarming officers used batons, pepper spray, and other aggressive techniques to retaliate against New Yorkers for showing their support of Black lives and demanding an end to police violence.” The plaintiffs allege “such uses of excessive force against these demonstrators violated their First and Fourth Amendment rights.”

“When tens of thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets peacefully to protest police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the NYPD unleashed an indiscriminate and brutal wave of violence to punish protestors for demonstrating against police violence,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Rather than fulfill their oath to protect New Yorkers–which means protecting peaceful protest–the NYPD went on the attack, ignoring the mask mandate and attacking peaceful protestors with batons, pepper spray and even bikes. Instead of holding the NYPD accountable for the repeated abuses, the Mayor and the police commissioner became the apologists in-chief. The City’s response to the righteous wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests is a stain on the city that can’t be allowed to go unchecked, especially as New Yorkers prepare for the possibility of a new wave of protest after the election.

According to the press release, “Counsel for the plaintiffs are seeking discovery and disclosure from the city to reveal their policies during June and the extent to which the mayor and police leadership authorized the brutal treatment of peaceful protesters.”