This was a headline from the Free Beacon that just stopped me in my tracks. We’ve been covering all manner of stories out of New York City over the course of the pandemic and the rioting and skyrocketing violent crime rates. But the one thing I never expected to see was a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio for being “too harsh” on the rioters. And yet that’s exactly what the New York Civil Liberties Union is claiming as they seek to take Hizzoner to court. According to the group, Police used excessive force against “peaceful protesters” and nearly a dozen of them are lining up as plaintiffs in the suit, demanding compensation.
The New York City Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit against New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) and other city officials for their “unjustifiable” response to anti-police riots this summer.
The groups filed the civil complaint in federal court Monday. It accuses de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, along with other city leaders, of directing the NYPD to wield unnecessary force against rioters and protesters this summer. The suit names 11 plaintiffs who claim they were injured or unlawfully arrested by the NYPD.
“Over and again, at protests throughout the City in May and June, NYPD officers descended on protesters with unjustifiable fist and baton strikes, chemical pepper spray attacks, and other acts of physical violence,” the lawsuit says.
My dad, a WW2 veteran, used to have a saying that he would invoke regularly. “Bad things happen in war.” While the things taking place in the streets of the Big Apple aren’t technically “war,” the situation isn’t all that different. When the mob gets out of control and blocks the streets, the police have to clear them out of the way. Does this mean that some people who may not have been physically engaged in violence at that particular moment could have been caught up in the action and hit with pepper spray, tear gas or batons? I’m sure it’s possible. But when you join the ranks of those who are defying and shoving the police, well… bad things happen.
As the New York Post recently reminded us, however, the police have been facing long odds and violence in these engagements themselves. As of the end of September, 472 officers have been injured through “shootings, stabbings, and vehicular and explosive attacks.” They’ve been met with Molotov cocktails on numerous occasions. In some of the larger demonstrations that turned into riots, the cops have been totally outnumbered.
Taking all of these facts into consideration, it was almost inevitable that a couple of people who weren’t actually attacking the police were going to get caught up in the scrum. Looking on the bright side, this situation never devolved to the point where the cops just began randomly firing live ammo into the crowds.
The thing that really makes this suit seem ridiculous is the fact that it’s only been in the last month or so that the NYPD began seriously cracking down on some of the more violent “protests.” Prior to that, the major complaint that everyone had was that the mobs were basically allowed to run wild, burning and looting with few if any arrests being made. If you wanted to sue Mayor de Blasio over something, I would have suggested that his failure to keep the streets safe and being too soft on the rioters would have been more appropriate.
There’s no official word from City Hall yet about the lawsuit. If they get around the mounting a defense we’ll be sure to bring you an update.