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City Paying Out Millions to Protesters Who Faced Police During George Floyd Riots

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The riots that rocked American cities in the summer of 2020 have been seared into the country’s memory.

Now, in New York City, they’re going to be taking a big chunk of taxpayer dollars that will go to protesters allegedly abused by the city’s police department as it tried to control the violence.

More than 300 individual protesters will be paid more than $20,000 each under the settlement of a class-action lawsuit reached late Tuesday, with the total bill, with other provisions, coming come to more than $10 million, according to The Associated Press.

According to the report, the settlement involves protesters who were in the streets in New York’s Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx on June 4, 2020, amid the riots that followed the death of suspected counterfeit-bill passer George Floyd in Minneapolis late the previous month.

According to the New York Post, the crowds that gathered were called by “two activist groups who taunted the NYPD with a flyer of a burning cop vehicle and incendiary phrases that encouraged demonstrators to break the 8 p.m. curfew that had been imposed in the city in the days prior.”

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Police surrounded the crowd, using bicycles and other means, and made it impossible to leave before 8 p.m., according to the Post. Officers began making arrests about 8:10 p.m.

The tactic of corralling and confining potentially dangerous crowds to a small area is called “kettling,” and one police officer in the Bronx interviewed by the Post defended it.

“Kettling? That’s what we do. It’s not like they do it because these guys are model citizens. They’re doing it because they’re committing crimes or not following orders,” the officer told the newspaper.

Should these protesters receive a payout?

“One or two of them might have been swept in there just because of wrong place, wrong time,” the officer said. “But people were looting stores and causing mayhem at some of these protests.”

Critics were outraged at the news of the multimillion-dollar settlement.

“Not only does BLM destroy cities, they get cities pay them to do it,” conservative commentator Armstrong Williams wrote in a Twitter post, referring to Black Lives Matter rioters.

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Advocates for the protesters, naturally, had a different view.

“The violence unleashed upon us that night was intentional, unwarranted, and will be with me for the rest of my life,” one of the plaintiffs claimed in a statement, according to the AP. “What the NYPD did, aided by the political powers of New York City, was an extreme abuse of power.”

And, according to the AP, the cost to taxpayers is going to be extreme, too.

Under the terms of the settlement, the report said, the city “will pay $21,500 each to at least 200 protesters who were detained, arrested or met with force by NYPD” during the incident.

The city will also pay $21,500 in legal fees for each of the covered protesters, and $2,500 to protesters who received tickets to appear in court.

The settlement will not go into effect until a judge signs off on it.

In a statement, according to the Post, the NYPD said it had “re-envisioned” its tactics in the aftermath of the 2020 upheaval.

“Two-and-a-half years after the protests of 2020, much of the NYPD’s policies and training for policing large-scale demonstrations have been re-envisioned based on the findings of the department’s own, self-initiated analyses and on the recommendations from three outside agencies who carefully investigated that period,” the statement said.

“The NYPD remains committed to continually improving its practices in every way possible.”

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
Birthplace
Philadelphia
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