*Two New York lawmakers, State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, have filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city claiming they were beaten and pepper-sprayed by members of the NYPD last summer during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Here’s more via revolt:
The suit from Myrie and Richardson alleges that Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea and six other officers violated their right to free speech, assaulted them and illegally detained Myrie. Along with unspecified damages, the suit also asks that a judge declare certain police tactics illegal, such as “kettling,” which is when officers surround protesters from all sides.
Myrie and Richardson claim that after kettling the group of protesters, police, without warning, used their bicycles to hit them. Myrie said he was hit in the back and in the legs while Richardson was struck in the stomach. They added that after ignoring protesters’ cries and not giving any verbal instructions, the cops pepper-sprayed both of them in the face.
Myrie and Richardson, who both represent parts of Brooklyn, participated in a protest outside Barclays Center on May 29.
— Gwynne Hogan (@GwynneFitz) May 30, 2020
“The experience was a painful and humiliating reminder that following the rules and complying with police orders does not protect Black Americans from police brutality, not even Black Americans who have ascended to elected office,” the suit reads.
The New York Times reports that the city potentially faces millions of dollars in payouts over lawsuits stemming from the protests. The outlet writes:
The lawsuit comes on the heels of one filed by the state attorney general in January demanding a court-appointed monitor to oversee the policing of future protests, a class-action suit filed on behalf of protesters and preliminary court papers filed by more than 400 individual protesters. The city faces the possibility of millions of dollars in payouts.
“The N.Y.P.D. has a longstanding track record of successfully protecting the right of the public to protest while ensuring public safety and is committed to strengthening those efforts,” Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city Law Department, said in response to the lawsuit. “We will review these claims.”
“We are representing the voices of many people whose voices have been lost, who don’t have this privilege and this platform, who weren’t pulled off to the side like Senator Myrie,” Richardson said.