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NYCLU, Legal Aid Secure over $500k Settlement for Clients Brutalized by NYPD During the Demonstrations Protesting Police Violence in 2020

NEW YORK The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Legal Aid Society announced a $512,000 settlement in Payne et. al., v. Mayor Bill de Blasio et. al., litigation filed in 2020 against City and New York City Police Department (NYPD) officials, as well as several individual officers, for their roles in the indiscriminate brutalizing of peaceful protesters during the social justice demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd. 

“While this settlement will never completely right what our clients suffered at the hands of the NYPD during the summer of 2020, we hope that it provides some much needed closure, allowing them to move on with their lives,” said Jennvine Wong, Supervising Attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society. “Until the NYPD meaningfully addresses their culture of impunity, these settlements will continue to balloon, with taxpayers footing the costs.”

“There is no way to put a price on the trauma that the NYPD caused through their reckless and unconstitutional treatment of protestors during the summer of 2020,” said Molly Biklen, Associate Legal Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “While today’s settlement provides some repair to our clients, our work to ensure our settlement’s policy reforms take hold continues. We won’t stop fighting until the NYPD fully adopts these new and urgently needed practices.”

“I am grateful to have received damages in this case, but the injunctive relief is more salient than ever in the midst of police takedowns of student protest encampments in support of Palestine,” said Payne plaintiff Charlie Monlouis-Anderle. “The outcome of this case is one way that we are fighting with everything we’ve got to protect our right to protest. Black lives, Palestinian lives. Our lives depend on it.”

With this injunctive relief settlement, we’ve accomplished some police reform. Yet, we can still believe that it is not enough. It is another step in the overall goal of reducing police presence and their role in the community.” said Payne plaintiff Jarrett Payne. “While there is some comfort in receiving damages, I would prefer a healthy society that doesn’t rely on police and state violence.”


In September 2023, New York Attorney General Letitia James (OAG), The Legal Aid Society (LAS), and the NYCLU announced a landmark agreement with the NYPD, the nation’s largest and most influential police force, that holds the Department to its oath to protect New Yorkers’ right to protest. This agreement resolved lawsuits for injunctive relief filed by Attorney General James, LAS, NYCLU, and other private lawsuits over NYPD’s wrongful arrests and excessive use of force against protesters during the summer of 2020. As a result of the agreement, the NYPD will be required to change how it deploys officers to public demonstrations and document those deployments more fully.

An oversight committee comprised of OAG, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), New York City Office of Corporation Counsel, the new First Amendment Activity (FAA) Senior Executive, and two representatives from LAS, NYCLU, and the private cases will oversee and monitor NYPD’s implementation and compliance with the new reforms over a multi-year period.

On February 7th, the Court approved the settlement, thwarting the Police Benevolent Association’s motion to stop the agreement from going into effect.  Despite this, the PBA sought to stay the decision while it appealed, which the Court denied on April 9th. 

Read the settlement here:


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