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NYC Will Pay $13 Million to Black Lives Matter Protestors

NYC Will Pay $13 Million to Black Lives Matter Protestors
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The settlement is one of the the most expensive payouts ever awarded in a mass arrest lawsuit.

New York City will pay more than $13 million to over 1,300 people who were arrested or beaten during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

The historic settlement comes after a civil rights lawsuit accused New York Police Department leaders of violating the First Amendment rights of protestors with “coordinated” police brutality, which included unlawful beatings and arrests.

The protests in New York mirrored those seen across the nation at the time over the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota when now-disgraced officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes. In the days following Floyd's death, over 10,000 were arrested across the United States, according to The Associated Press.

Adama Sow, one of the named plaintiffs, said that the group of protestors he was with were enclosed by police without warning before they were arrested. Sow said that their hands turned purple from zip tie restraints, and that they were held on a hot bus for hours.

“It was so disorganized, but so intentional,” Sow said. “They seemed set on traumatizing everyone.”

If approved by a judge, the settlement would be one of the most expensive payouts ever awarded in a mass arrest lawsuit, but it won't mark the first protest-related settlement the city of New York has been made to pay. In 2020, the city allotted $21,000 to 300 people in the Bronx who were beaten by police with batons during racial justice protests.

Wylie Stecklow, an attorney for the protesters, said that the settlement's cost to taxpayers should serve as a “red flag” for city leaders highlighting the NYPD’s “decades old problem with constitutionally compliant protest policing.”

“While the arc of the moral universe is indeed long, sometimes it needs reform to bend towards justice,” he said.

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