University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name People of New York v. New York PN-NY-0054
Docket / Court 1:21-cv-00322 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Policing
Special Collection Police Violence Protests (Spring/Summer 2020)
Case Summary
On behalf of the residents of New York, New York Attorney General Letitia James brought this lawsuit against the New York City Police Department on January 14, 2021 in the Southern District of New York. The complaint alleged that NYPD officers regularly used excessive force against and falsely ... read more >
On behalf of the residents of New York, New York Attorney General Letitia James brought this lawsuit against the New York City Police Department on January 14, 2021 in the Southern District of New York. The complaint alleged that NYPD officers regularly used excessive force against and falsely arrested peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights during the widespread racial justice protests that took place from May 28, 2020 to December 11, 2020. The plaintiff sued all defendants under 42 U.S.C § 1983 alleging excessive force and unlawful seizure in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as First Amendment violations. The Attorney General also brought claims under the New York State Constitution alleging excessive force, unlawful seizure, and violation of the freedom of the press. In addition, the complaint alleges that NYPD officers committed assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and negligence under state law and that the NYPD failed to use reasonable care in the training, supervision, and retention of NYPD officers.

Plaintiff alleged that the NYPD dispatched thousands of inadequately trained officers to the large-scale protests challenging police conduct and authority. It further alleged that those officers employed unconstitutional policing practices, including ramming protesters with police bicycles; striking protesters with batons and fists; indiscriminately pepper spraying protesters; shoving protesters to the ground and using chokeholds or kneeling on protesters; “kettling” protesters in order to deny them an opportunity to disperse and thereafter executing mass arrests; and arresting curfew-exempt essential workers, including legal observers, medics, and jail support providers. Additionally, plaintiff alleged that New York City failed to prevent or correct the NYPD’s use of unconstitutional policing practices during the protests.

Plaintiff sought declaratory relief as well as injunctive relief enjoining the NYPD from implementing or applying its unconstitutional policies or practices of employing excessive force, false arrests, and retaliatory tactics against New York residents who participated in the 2020 racial justice protests. Plaintiff also sought an order required the NYPD to change its policies and training procedures and monitoring to ensure its compliance. In addition, Plaintiff sought fees and any other relief the Court deemed just and proper.

The case was related to Payne v. De Blasio and assigned to Judge Colleen McMahon on January 19, 2021. Judge McMahon consolidated this case with three other police conduct cases (Payne, Sow v. City of New York, and Wood v. De Blasio) for pre-trial purposes. In early March, the Detectives Endowment Association of New York City and the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York moved to intervene in the case. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on March 5, 2021, detailing additional specific incidents in support of their earlier allegations and further alleging that the NYPD interfered with the right of journalists, legal observers, and the public to observe and report upon police behavior. As of March 7, 2021, the case remains pending in the District Court with responsive pleadings due by March 26, 2021.

Rachel Harrington - 03/16/2021
Rachel Harrington - 04/15/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : physical
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) City of New York
Plaintiff Description The People of the State of New York, represented by their Attorney General, Letitia James.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 01/14/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-NY-0057 : Payne v. de Blasio (S.D.N.Y.)
PN-NY-0058 : Wood v. De Blasio (S.D.N.Y.)
PN-NY-0059 : Sow v. City of New York (S.D.N.Y.)
Additional Resources
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  Attorney General James Files Lawsuit Against the NYPD for Excessive Use of Force
New York State Attorney General
Date: Jan. 14, 2021
By: New York State Attorney General
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D.N.Y.
03/06/2021
1:21-cv-00322-CM
PN-NY-0054-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D.N.Y.
01/14/2021
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PN-NY-0054-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
03/05/2021
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 51]
PN-NY-0054-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Gorenstein, Gabriel W. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
McMahon, Colleen (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Clarke, Jessica (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
Dasgupta, Anisha (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002
England, Travis William (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
Fajana, Morenike (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
James, Letitia (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002
Levitz, Phillip J (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
Marquez, Lillian (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
Morril, Gregory (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-0001 | PN-NY-0054-0002 | PN-NY-0054-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dolan, Richard Henry (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
Goykadosh, Brachah (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
Kissane, Thomas Aquinas (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
McQuade, Stephen (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
Weiss, Dara Lynn (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000
Other Lawyers Coles, Anthony Paul (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NY-0054-9000

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