Human rights violations seen in NYPD repression


The NYPD’s violent mass arrest of peaceful protesters in the South Bronx this past June violated international human rights law and will likely cost New York City taxpayers several million dollars in misconduct lawsuits, according to a new investigation by Human Rights Watch. The in-depth report examines the June 4 incident in the Mott Haven district, where hundreds of demonstrators were “kettled” behind police barricades before being arrested. As riot police blocked protesters’ path minutes before Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 8 PM curfew, a second line of officers charged them from behind, “unprovoked and without warning…wielding batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them to the ground, and firing pepper spray into their faces before rounding up more than 250 people for arrest.”

Human Rights Watch documented at least 61 cases of protesters, legal observersĀ and bystanders who sustained injuries during the operation, including lacerations, a broken nose, lost tooth, sprained shoulder, broken finger, black eyes, and potential nerve damage due to overly tight zip-tie handcuffs.

HRW counts the incident as “among the most aggressive police responses to protests across the United States following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis” 10 days earlier.

“The New York City police blocked people from leaving before the curfew and then used the curfew as an excuse to beat, abuse, and arrest people who were protesting peacefully,”Ā said HRW researcher Ida Sawyer, a co-author of the report. “It was a planned operation with no justification that could cost New York taxpayers millions of dollars.”

From Human Rights Watch, Gothamist, Sept. 30

Image: Human Rights Watch

  1. Surreal irony of ‘anarchist jurisdictions’

    It is, hopefully, needless to point out the irony that the above reports comes three weeks afterĀ PresidentĀ TrumpĀ signedĀ a memo threatening to cut federal funding to “anarchist jurisdictions” that have failed to contain protests, including New York, Seattle, PortlandĀ and Washington, DC. (Jurist)

  2. Seattle, New York and Portland sue Trump

    The cities of Seattle, New York and PortlandĀ filed a lawsuitĀ against President Donald Trump, challenging his efforts to withhold federal funding from those cities for having permitted “anarchy, violence and destruction”Ā as alleged in a presidentialĀ MemorandumĀ issued in early September following a wave of protests and civic disturbances largely animated by concerns over racial justice and police brutality. The plaintiffs argue that the withholding of federal funds is “a blatant violation of the separation of powers.” (Jurist)

  3. NYPD sued over police brutality during protests

    The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 against the New York Police Department and Mayor Bill de Blasio over police violence against protesters following the murder of George Floyd. The suit names de Blasio, along with the City of New York, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, and several individual police officers ā€œfor their roles in the indiscriminate brutalizing of peaceful protestersā€ during the protests. (Jurist)

  4. NYPD ‘failed citizens’ during BLM protests: report

    An internalĀ investigationĀ into the handling of the George Floyd protests by the New York Police DepartmentĀ found that the NYPD did not execute “its responsibility to protect the rights of citizens to engage in lawful protests”Ā and that the actions of numerous officers went so far outside the scope of their job that the whole department had failed. The investigation was ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio underĀ Section 803 of the New York City CharterĀ after numerous reports questioning NYPD conduct during the protests that were held between May 28 and June 20, 2020. (Jurist)

  5. Biden revokes ‘anarchist jurisdiction’ designation

    In anĀ executive order, Feb. 23, President Biden revoked a host of actions taken by the former administration, including the memo in which the Department of Justice announced the creation of the “anarchist jurisdiction”Ā designation. (OPB)