Payday: NYC to give BLM protesters more than $13 million

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News July 20, 2023

Protest a disputed election at the U.S. Capitol and get years in prison. Protest George Floyd’s death in New York City and get paid.

New York City said on Wednesday it will give more than $13 million to more than 1,000 protesters who were arrested or interacted with police during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The settlement came in a civil rights lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

The lawsuit focused on 18 protests that erupted in New York City in the week following George Floyd’s death. The settlement still needs to be approved by a judge before it is finalized.

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, eligible persons can get paid $9,950 in compensation.

Protesters arrested in connection with violence – those arrested on charges including trespassing, property destruction, assaulting an officer, arson or weapons possession – will be excluded from the settlement. Those seen on video blocking police from making arrests may also be ineligible.

Attorneys for the city maintained police officers were responding to a chaotic and unprecedented situation and highlighted unruly protests where police vehicles were set on fire and officers pelted with rocks and plastic bottles.

Attorneys for the city said there was no systematic effort to deprive people of their right to protest.

“There is no history – or present or future – of unconstitutional policing,” Georgia Pestana, an attorney for the city, wrote in a memo. “There is no frequent deprivation of constitutional rights.”

Another class action settlement announced earlier this year would award $21,500 to demonstrators in the Bronx who were arrested during the George Floyd protests. That payout could total around $10 million, including legal fees.

Separately, more than 600 people have brought individual claims against New York City related to police action during the 2020 protests, according to the city’s comptroller, Brad Lander. Settlements in these cases have cost the city nearly $12 million.

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