Report: New York City Seeking Federal Court Approval To Mass Arrest Protesters


(AllHipHop News) In 2011, the New York Police Department arrested nearly 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge. The protesters sued the city on the grounds that police led them onto the bridge and then arrested them without adequate warning.

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A federal court ruled that Occupy’s lawsuit could proceed. Judge Jed Rakoff agreed that by the cops walking in front of the protesters it gave “an implicit invitation to follow.” The ruling also stated the protesters’ constitutional rights were violated and the police did not have cause to arrest them. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in August.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has now agreed to the city’s request for the case to be heard at an en banc hearing before all 22 judges. This could effectively prevent the case from going to trial.

This could have a direct impact on the current protests that have been taking place in New York. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton stated there would not be any mass arrests of the “Black Lives Matter” protesters. Bratton explained that decision recently by saying, “When you lock up five or six hundred people all at the same time, you don’t have what the courts require to successfully prosecute.”

Despite that statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is still attempting to have the Occupy Wall Street case thrown out. Legal experts on the side of the protesters see that move as seeking approval for the NYPD to have the power to make arrests in mass.

“Mayor de Blasio, even though he says that he supports peaceful protest with those rulings that held the police in check, now he’s trying to unravel them,” said the legal director for the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund Carl Messineo.

PCJF legal director Verheyden-Hilliard added, “That is what the courts were ruling on. Simply the fact that police cannot mass arrest people without notice and opportunity to comply with an order; notably as here they were led and escorted out onto the bridge. So by seeking to overturn that order New York City is seeking the power to conduct sweeping mass arrests without people having any clue that they’ve done anything wrong and are going to be arrested, and no opportunity to comply with any order that they should disperse.”

The protester’s side is wary about the upcoming hearing, but New York City representatives are looking forward to presenting their arguments before the Second Circuit.

“We are pleased that the full court has decided to hear the case,” said a New York Law Department spokesperson.

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