Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Brooklyn Bridge Mass Arrest

PCJF Files Federal Constitutional Rights Class Action

  • October 5, 2011
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Dear supporter,

Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on Oct. 4 filed a class action lawsuit against Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and the City of New York, charging mass violations of constitutional rights in the trap and detain mass arrest of 700 demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge this past Saturday, October 1, 2011.

Brooklyn Bridge march before mass arrest, 10-01-11

Photo: Sophia Marsh

The lawsuit charges that "the NYPD engaged in a premeditated, planned, scripted, and calculated effort to sweep the streets of protestors and disrupt a growing protest movement in New York." The class action lawsuit, Garcia v. Bloomberg, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No: 11 CIV 6957. For more information on the lawsuit and the PCJF's work in defense of free speech rights, go to www.JusticeOnline.org.

"Police commanders led and escorted demonstrators onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge in an intentional entrapment," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF and counsel on the litigation. "The police conducted a charade - and duly videotaped it - of speaking inaudibly into a bullhorn that could not be heard mere feet away from the officer. The NYPD knew no audible communication was given. The NYPD also knew that the Constitution requires that any ostensible command must be heard by those who are expected to be bound by it. Instead, the NYPD engaged in a performance, videotaped it, and sprang their trap. They then set their PR machine into motion, widely distributing their edited videos of events to spin a false narrative to the public and the media," she continued.

"This lawsuit is brought on behalf of all New Yorkers," stated Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the PCJF and counsel on the suit. "People from all walks of life came down to the Wall Street area on Saturday to participate in a peaceful demonstration and many others joined the spirited march along the way. They had no intention of being arrested nor could they have had knowledge that the NYPD was preparing to entrap hundreds of them on the Brooklyn Bridge in an effort to stifle dissent."

"This lawsuit is being filed now to send a clear message to the NYPD that this movement had the right to march on October 1 and has the right to march on any day without fear," continued Carl Messineo. "People have the right to speak out against Wall Street greed and growing poverty without fear that the NYPD would seek to illegally arrest them and suppress their mass assembly protest."

To read the complaint, click here.

Read the media coverage of the Brooklyn Bridge mass arrest class action lawsuit:

Huffington Post:
Occupy Wall Street Mass Arrest Resembles Infamous, Costly Police Tactic, Critics Say
New York Times:
Citing Police Trap, Protesters File Suit
Gawker:
Lawsuit Filed Over Brooklyn Bridge Mass Arrest

We can't do this work without your help. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) is a not-for-profit legal and educational organization that defends the civil rights and civil liberties of grassroots movements seeking social and economic justice. The PCJF represents the 99 percent who need justice. Please make a generous donation.

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