New York Attorney General Letitia James has turned up the heat on the New York Police Department. James is now suing the NYPD for their handling of Black Lives Matter protests that emerged last spring. The New York Attorney General has accused the police force of "excessive, brutal, and unlawful force." to quell protest efforts.
"There is no question that the NYPD engaged in a pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters," James said.
"Over the past few months, the NYPD has repeatedly and blatantly violated the rights of New Yorkers, inflicting significant physical and psychological harm and leading to great distrust in law enforcement."
Throughout her lawsuit, James documents instances in which police are accused of unlawfully arresting medics and lawyers. She also outlines instances in which police were accused of kettling protesters before making unlawful arrests. NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller has dismissed the claims made in the lawsuit and believes the department will address them in court.
"[The lawsuit] doesn't seem to meet the standard of a federal monitor. It doesn't seem to illustrate a pattern of practice, which is required under the law," Miller said.
"But we will, as with most civil lawsuits, address those assertions in court."
Regardless of Miller's statement, the events of the spring and summer have led to stricter guidelines regarding police use of force. Over the summer, the city also shifted $1 billion away from the police department. Moving forward, James hopes to implement an independent body that will oversee the actions of the police.
"No one is above the law — not even the individuals charged with enforcing it," James stated.
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