New York City has agreed to pay hundreds of protesters who were surrounded, arrested and subjected to excessive force by police during a George Floyd protest in 2020. The lawsuit alleged that the NYPD “arrested and charged the protestors without probable cause and subjected them to excessive force, as part of a planned police action involving some of the most senior members of the NYPD… The NYPD in an operation planned by the highest levels of police officials, kettled protesters on East 136th Street between Brook Avenue and Brown Place and unleashed a brutal assault on more than 300 people, who were injured, arrested, and detained for hours.” Hundreds of protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality and racism after Floyd’s death were encircled and corralled by a group of police officers wearing riot gear and riding bicycles in a controversial practice known as “kettling.”
According to court documents, the proposed settlement filed in federal court late Tuesday said the city would compensate approximately 320 people who participated in the protest June 4, 2020, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The city agreed to pay eligible class-action members $21,500 each, as well as another $2,500 to each person who received a desk appearance ticket. The two named plaintiffs in the case would receive another $21,500 “service award,” according to the proposed settlement, which must be reviewed and approved by the court before taking effect.
A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department said in statement that the 2020 protests were a “challenging moment for the department as officers who themselves were suffering under the strains of a global pandemic did their utmost to help facilitate people’s rights to peaceful expression all while addressing acts of lawlessness including wide-scale rioting, mass chaos, violence, and destruction.” Joshua Moskovitz, an attorney for the protesters, said on Wednesday, “The settlement, in our view, reflects an acknowledgment by the city that the NYPD’s actions in Mott Haven on June 4 were tragically wrong.” Attorneys for the protesters said in a statement about the proposed settlement: “This is believed to be the highest per-person settlement in a mass arrest class action lawsuit in New York City history.”
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