New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department, citing “a pattern of using excessive force and making false arrests against New Yorkers during peaceful protests” that sought racial justice and other changes.
The Black Lives Matter movement and other activists organized large protests across the country last year, after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Demonstrations grew over similar incidents, including the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
James’ office says it has received “more than 1,300 complaints and pieces of evidence” about the police response to the protests in New York City. It’s now seeking a court order “declaring that the policies and practices that the NYPD used during these protests were unlawful.”
Along with the court order, the attorney general is asking for policy reforms and a monitor to oversee the NYPD’s tactics and handling of future protests.
The NYPD has been sharply criticized over a number of its officers’ actions in the past year. A video last May apparently showed police SUVs surging into a crowd that had surrounded them during a protest in Brooklyn. In another incident, an officer drew his gun and pointed it at a crowd of people.