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Attorney General Sues NYPD for “Pattern of Excessive Force” During BLM Protests

The lawsuit stems from NYPD behavior during this summer’s racial justice protests.

On Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NYPD. The suit cites “a pattern of using excessive force and making false arrests against New Yorkers during peaceful protests.”

Over the summer, the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked protests around the country. James’ office says it’s received “more than 1,300 complaints and pieces of evidence” related to the NYPD response to protests in New York City. The office now seeks a court order “declaring that the policies and practices that the NYPD used during these protests were unlawful.”

Back in May, videos showed officers driving police SUVs into a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn. In another cited incident, an officer drew his gun and pointed it into a crowd of people.

“There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters,” James said. “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.”

The lawsuit accuses Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, and police chief Terence Monahan of failing “to prevent and address the pattern or practice of excessive force and false arrests by officers against peaceful protesters in violation of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

The police department and de Blasio have released statements, claiming plans to reform the department are already in progress.

“The New York City Police Department welcomes reform and has embraced the recent suggestions by both the city’s Department of Investigation and the city’s Law Department,” a department spokesperson said via email. “As the Mayor has said, adding another layer does not speed up the process of continued reform, which we have embraced and led the way on.”

Stay tuned for further updates regarding the lawsuit.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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