New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Thursday for its handling of peaceful protests and use of excessive force.
In her complaint, James argued that the NYPD unjustifiably used pepper spray and batons against Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters in violation of NYPD policies. Such action caused protesters to suffer both physical and psychological harm. Additionally, James argued that officers corralled protesters without an opportunity to disperse, resulting in mass arrests without probable cause. Further, James stated that the use of excessive force violated protesters’ First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
James asked the court to issue an order stating that the NYPD’s policies and practices of using excessive force and false arrests violate free expression and qualify as retaliation. Further, James asked the court to require the NYPD to take affirmative steps to change its policies and training to ensure that the department complies with the Constitution.
In a press release, James stated:
There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protestors. 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.
The lawsuit follows an investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo into police misconduct that occurred during protests following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The killings sparked thousands of New York residents to protest against the frequent pattern of police officers killing unarmed Black Americans. The investigation revealed more than 1,300 complaints of police misconduct.
Article: New York AG sues NYPD over excessive force practices