Violent crackdown on pro-Palestine march raises doubts about policing reform in NYPD

Violent crackdown on pro-Palestine march raises doubts about policing reform in NYPD

The Associated Press reports:

When New York City resolved a lawsuit brought by Black Lives Matter demonstrators last year by agreeing to overhaul how police respond to protests, Mayor Eric Adams praised the suite of reforms as sensible steps to “move our city forward.”

But some civil rights lawyers are now questioning the mayor’s commitment to the deal in the wake of the New York Police Department’s aggressive response to a pro-Palestinian demonstration Saturday. Police arrested more than 40 people at the event and were filmed pummeling protesters and ordering them to leave the street.

At a press briefing Tuesday, Adams said officers had acted “accordingly” in response to protesters who had spit at them, blocked traffic, lit flares and, in the case of one marcher, climbed atop a city bus with a Palestinian flag.

The lawsuit settlement will require police to accommodate most street demonstrations, while creating a tiered system of responses that prioritize de-escalation. A city lawyer stressed that the city is still in the process of developing new training and procedures around the agreement, and it is therefore complying.

But Adams also argued that the protesters’ actions on Saturday negated the tiered approach, which is intended to ensure that police don’t use isolated incidents of lawbreaking to crack down on otherwise peaceful protests.

“You don’t have a right to disobey the rules. You were told to do it on the sidewalk. You were told to do it in a peaceful way,” said Adams, a Democrat and former police captain, adding that “when you cross over that line, there’s no tier to that.”

Jennvine Wong, a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society, which is a party to the federal lawsuit, said the mayor’s comments raised “serious concern about his commitment to meeting the city’s obligations under the settlement.” [Continue reading…]

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