New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Thursday against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and its leadership for their alleged “brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters.”
“There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters,” James said in a statement. “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,” the statement continued.
Following a investigation into allegations of police brutality against protesters, James alleged in the suit that members of the NYPD have a “pattern of responding to racial justice and related protests with gratuitous force.”
Since May 30, her office has received more than 1,300 complains and pieces of evidence of misconduct, the statement said. (RELATED: Biden Says Black Lives Matter Protesters Would ‘Have Been Treated Very Differently’ Than Capitol Rioters)
James cited a June 28 protest that started at Foley Square and ended at the Stonewall Inn. James said NYPD Officers “initiated a violent response” and pepper sprayed peaceful protesters.
The suit also alleges that the NYPD, the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan didn’t “adequately train, supervise, and discipline NYPD Officers” to prevent any violation of protesters’ constitutional rights.
James said the investigation found that NYPD officers conducted mass arrests without probable cause, unjustifiably used pepper spray, batons and other measures of force against protesters and targeted peaceful protesters.
The suit seeks injunctive relief that includes monitoring NYPD policing tactics at future protests as well as a court order declaring that the policies and practices that the NYPD used during the protests were illegal.
Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York President Patrick J. Lynch criticized James’ suit and said the NYPD was not to blame.
“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,” Lynch said.
A spokesperson for the NYPD said they’ve been actively working to make changes to address policing issues.
“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.”
In September approximately 150 demonstrators reportedly with Black Lives Matter vandalized storefronts and broke windows in Lower Manhattan, causing upwards of $100,000 in damage, the New York Post reported, citing sources from the NYPD.
EXCLUSIVE: As protestors take to the streets of New York, a small group of troublemakers are seen smashing windows. We know of at least 8 arrests tonight. One store worker says he understands the protests, but doesn’t get the destruction of property – 11p @NBCNewYork pic.twitter.com/vr4z76ZqQn
— Adam Harding (@HardingReports) September 5, 2020
The Daily Caller has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment but did not receive a response by publication time.