On Monday night, eleven police officers were injured, including one officer who was hit in the head by a glass bottle, as the NYPD and members of a Black Liberation March commemorating Martin Luther King Day clashed near New York City’s City hall.
“Police told protesters to disperse and violence broke out as officers began arresting demonstrators. A total of 28 people were arrested late Monday,” NBC New York reported, citing police sources. The marchers started from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and moved toward City Hall.
ABC 7 reported that police arrested 28 people, most of whom were “charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and blocking the roadway.”
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Chief of Department Terry Monahan. A press release from James’ office announcing the lawsuit read in part:
In the complaint, Attorney General James lays out dozens of examples of the NYPD’s blatant use of excessive force and other misconduct, since May 2020 … NYPD officers also unlawfully arrested legal observers, medics, and other workers performing essential services without probable cause and in direct violation of executive orders from Mayor de Blasio. The lawsuit seeks broad injunctive relief, including systemic reforms to the NYPD and the implementation of a monitor to oversee the NYPD’s policing tactics in future protests and to ensure compliance with the law.
James stated: “There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters. 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. With today’s lawsuit, this longstanding pattern of brutal and illegal force ends. No one is above the law — not even the individuals charged with enforcing it.”
In the lawsuit, James slammed de Blasio and Shea, whom she criticized for stating that the NYPD “had a plan which was executed nearly flawlessly” during a June 4 protest in the Bronx.
The NYPD responded, “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. 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.”
Patrick Lynch, president of New York City’s Police Benevolent Association, responded, “We will say it again: what we witnessed in June was a failure of New York City’s leadership. They sent cops out to police unprecedented protests and violent riots with no plan, no strategy and no support. They should be forced to answer for the resulting chaos, instead of pointing fingers at cops on the streets and ignoring the criminals who attacked us with bricks and firebombs.”