New York City has agreed to pay more than $20,000 each to hundreds of individuals who were trapped by police and attacked with batons and pepper spray during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.
According to documents filed in federal court on Tuesday evening, the city and the NYPD reached a proposed settlement to compensate anyone who was corralled by police during the infamous June 4 crackdown, which took place at the height of the protests against the police killing of George Floyd.
The settlement, which still must be approved by a judge, is believed to be the largest-ever per-person payout for a class action lawsuit arising from a mass arrest, according to Alison Frick, an attorney for the named plaintiffs who brought the class action lawsuit.
“It’s highly unusual,” said Martin Stolar, a civil rights attorney who is not involved in the case. “It shows me that the city is making an admission that there was substantial wrongdoing on the part of the department, and rather than going to trial where they risk judgment of a higher amount, they agreed to a settlement.”
Roughly 300 protesters were marching along 136th Street and Brook Avenue when they were blocked on both sides by walls of heavily-armored NYPD officers, a tactic known as kettling. Officers proceeded to attack the group with batons and pepper spray, before arresting an estimated 278 people. Among those trapped were medics, legal observers and journalists, including those reporting for Gothamist and WNYC who may be eligible for compensation.
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A subsequent report from Human Rights Watch found cops acted “unprovoked and without warning, whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground, and firing pepper spray in their faces.” The group accused the NYPD of “serious violations of international human rights law.” They described the police response, which was overseen by high-ranking department officials and primarily carried out by the NYPD’s controversial Strategic Response Group, as a “serious violation of international human rights law.”
On Wednesday, the City Council held a long-planned, repeatedly-delayed oversight hearing on the Strategic Response Group. No one from the NYPD showed up, citing ongoing litigation.
BLM founder Pamela Moses sent to 6 years in Prison for illegally voting. Moses pled guilty in 2015 to felony counts of tampering with evidence and forgery, as well as misdemeanor charges of perjury, stalking, theft under $500, and escape.
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