Landmark NYPD agreement with ACLU over Black Lives Matter riots limits use of force during protests

Specifically, the controversial 'kettling' tactic, where protesters are confined to tight spaces, will only be allowed for targeted arrests within crowds.

Landmark NYPD agreement with ACLU over Black Lives Matter riots limits use of force during protests
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File
Remove Ads

In a landmark settlement with the ACLU, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has agreed to cease "kettling" protestors and other excessive force tactics. This comes after the ACLU, along with the Legal Aid Society and state Attorney General Letitia James, pursued legal action against the city's top officials for their response to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Molly Biklen of the New York Civil Liberties Union remarked, "This landmark settlement holds the NYPD, the nation’s largest and most influential police force, to its oath to protect New Yorkers’ right to protest.”

Recalling the turbulent weeks post George Floyd's death in 2020, NYC experienced widespread protests, some of which devolved into vandalism and looting, the New York Times reported. The NYPD's response, which included the use of pepper spray, batons, and other forceful tactics, led to the arrest of 2,087 protestors from May 28 to June 7, 2020.

A new structured, four-tiered system will now guide the NYPD's response to protests. NYPD Commissioner Caban acknowledged the challenges faced by officers in 2020, emphasizing the department's refreshed approach towards balancing public safety with individual rights.

The settlement also mandates improvements in the NYPD's disciplinary process, respectful treatment of journalists, and restrictions on intimidating aerial surveillance during lawful protests. Specifically, the controversial "kettling" tactic, where protestors are confined to tight spaces, will only be allowed for targeted arrests within crowds.

The establishment of an oversight committee, costing the city an estimated $1.45 million, is part of the agreement. Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry voiced concerns about the potential implications of the settlement, fearing it might embolden future acts of violence against officers.

In a related development, NYC agreed in July to a $13.7 million settlement for over 1,000 protestors from the George Floyd demonstrations in 2020. Eligible protestors can claim $9,950 each, though those charged with violent offenses will be excluded. A judge's approval is pending for this significant payout, which could be among the highest ever for mass arrests.

This lawsuit pertains to incidents at 18 protests following George Floyd's death in late May 2020, which led to nationwide civil unrest, causing further deaths and extensive property damage.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads