The New York City Police Department will reform how it responds to protests as the result of a landmark settlement Tuesday.
The settlement, filed in Manhattan, resolved several protest cases brought after the 2020 George Floyd demonstrations, the Daily News reported.
The settlement includes reform measures — such as stopping "kettling" and other use-of-force tactics — meant to improve the way the NYPD responds to civil demonstrations.
Kettling is the forced containment of protesters. Protesters either leave through a police-controlled exit or an uncontrolled gap in cordons, or are contained, prevented from leaving, and arrested.
Critics say the tactic is controversial because it can result in the detention of ordinary bystanders as well as protesters.
"This landmark settlement holds the NYPD, the nation's largest and most influential police force, to its oath to protect New Yorkers' right to protest," New York Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Molly Biklen said, the Daily News reported.
"The NYPD's violent response to protesters during the 2020 demonstrations ... made clear to the world what too many New Yorkers already knew, that the NYPD is unable or unwilling to police itself. Today's settlement ensures the NYPD can no longer indiscriminately deploy the notorious Strategic Response Group to protests and no longer escalate force on a whim."
The agreement resolves cases against the NYPD brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, the Legal Aid Society, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and a lawsuit brought by protesters roughed up during 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The lawsuits claimed police used excessive force, made illegal arrests, and violated protesters' First Amendment rights.
Gothamist reported other terms of the settlement:
- A new system that will standardize how NYPD officers are deployed to demonstrations and require the use of de-escalation tactics before deciding whether to send more officers to a scene.
- Changes to the NYPD’s disciplinary guidelines for punishment when officers violate policy.
- A new NYPD position to oversee the department's response to protests.
- Allocations of $1.625 million to the city's Department of Investigation, which examines the NYPD, and of $1.45 million to the plaintiffs to help with the oversight committee.
- Better treatment of media members.
Many have complained about the rampant crime in New York, some of which has been attributed to lax policing procedures.
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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