New York City Sued Over Arrests
NEW YORK -- Protesters and onlookers arrested during the Republican National Convention sued New York City on Thursday and said police had violated their free-speech and other constitutional rights.
At least two suits filed in Manhattan federal court said police detained more than 1,800 people during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention. They said many were not involved in illegal activity or were not even protesters. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed the suits.
The cases seek unspecified damages and a court ruling declaring that police mass-arrest tactics are unlawful so they will not be used in future demonstrations. The plaintiffs said, for example, that police trapped large groups of people on the sidewalk with mesh nets.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the NYCLU is distorting the facts concerning the arrests. He said those who insisted on breaking the law "now complain because they faced the normal consequences of unlawful conduct."
The suits were filed a day after the Manhattan district attorney's office said it would not prosecute cases against 227 protesters arrested on Aug. 31 during one of the most disputed demonstrations of the convention. Prosecutors said it would be difficult to prove that the protesters deliberately defied orders.
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-- From News Services