New York City has agreed to pay $21,500 each to more than 300 protesters who were confined by police in a “kettling” tactic during the 2020 protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Ali Frick, speaking to ABC News, said she was “really pleased” with the settlement on behalf of clients who were detained in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx in June 2020.
“This was essentially a premeditated show of force against people who were demonstrating against police violence,” the lawyer said.
The lawsuit by 320 protesters said police corralled their group, restrained them with zip ties and subjected them to baton hits and pepper spray.
“Kettling” refers to the practice of forming large cordons of police officers who move to contain a crowd within a limited area.
The settlement, if approved by a judge, would be one of the highest ever paid out to persons involved in a mass arrest and may cost the city close to $7 million.
The event occurred shortly after then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, imposed a curfew in response to rioting and looting that spun off from protests over Floyd, who died in Minnesota after a police officer kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes during an arrest.
The New York City Police Department released a statement that said it had overhauled its policies and training for dealing with large demonstrations.
NYPD called the 2020 protests “a challenging moment for the department as officers who themselves were suffering under the strains of a global pandemic did their utmost to help facilitate people’s rights to peaceful expression all while addressing acts of lawlessness including wide-scale rioting, mass chaos, violence, and destruction.”
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