The Big Payback: NYPD and the City Settle with George Floyd Protestors for a Massive $7 Million

The Big Payback: NYPD and the City Settle with George Floyd Protestors for a Massive $7 Million

Protesters who joined the George Floyd protests in New York City are getting ready to receive a huge payout.

ABC News reported the city and New York Police Department have agreed to pay millions of dollars to protesters who were arrested and detained during a 2020 protest in the Bronx.

The court filing claimed police used a crowd control tactic known as “kettling” to confine over 300 protesters into a small space. The total cost of the settlement is estimated to be close to $7 million, with each protestor receiving $21,500, believed to be the highest per-person settlement award in a mass arrest class action lawsuit. One plaintiff’s attorney, Ali Frick, is excited for this victory. “We are really pleased with the settlement,” Frick said. “This was essentially a premeditated show of force against people who were demonstrating against police violence.”

According to the lawsuit, NYPD used bicycles to surround protesters, while other officers, some in riot gear, attacked demonstrators. Some were beaten with batons, kicked, punched, and pepper sprayed. USA Today reported at least 61 people were hurt and sustained injuries, including a broken nose, lost tooth, sprained shoulder, broken finger, split lip, black eyes, and bruises.

The use of “kettling,” also known as “trap and detain,” has been heavily criticized by several city and police department leaders nationwide. Human Rights Watch, a civil rights organization, says the incident violated international human rights laws. Some activists have compared it to “Bloody Sunday,” when state troopers viciously attacked peaceful protestors marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL in March 1965.

“The violence unleashed upon us that night was intentional, unwarranted, and will be with me for the rest of my life,” plaintiff Charles Henry Wood said. “What the NYPD did, aided by the political powers of New York City, was an extreme abuse of power.”

The NYPD blamed COVID-19 for the outburst, saying protests in the midst of it were “challenging” and claimed they have revised how they respond to protests.