The settlement, filed Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court and pending a judge’s approval, would pay roughly $9,950 apiece to 1,380 protestors who “were arrested and/or subjected to force by NYPD officers” and had their First Amendment rights suppressed in late May and early June 2020.
In total, the NYPD made over 2,000 protest-related arrests over a 10-day span in the aftermath of Floyd’s death; while the demonstrations were largely peaceful, the protests served as a catalyst for incidents of vehicle burning and looting, forcing then-Mayor Bill de Blasio to institute the city’s first curfew in 75 years, the New York Times reports.
With the curfew in place, police resorted to questionable, unlawful tactics against the demonstrators protesting against police brutality, including excessive force, use of batons and pepper spray, and “kettling,” where protestors were sandwiched between encroaching police lines, making it impossible for them to escape.
The city of New York had already agreed to pay out $21,500 to 320 demonstrators involved in a June 2020 protest in the Bronx; additionally, more than 600 people have brought individual claims against the city over the 2020 protests, resulting in approximately $12 million in settlements, the Associated Press reports.
However, the $13.7 million settlement would mark the largest in the city’s history, surpassing the $10.3 million New York City doled out to hundreds of people wrongfully arrested outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.
“NYPD’s suppression of dissent has continued through numerous mayoral administrations,” Wylie Stecklow, a lawyer on the class-action suit, said in a statement. “While the arc of the moral universe is indeed long, sometimes it needs reform to bend towards justice.”