A federal judge ruled Monday that the NYPD wrongfully arrested protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. The class action suit was brought on behalf of the demonstrators by the New York Civil Liberties Union. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the New York City Police Department wrongfully arrested protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in the city. The class action suit was brought on behalf of the demonstrators by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The ruling covers two separate demonstrations that took place in August 2004.
At the first, on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, protesters said they could march on the sidewalk, but then found themselves surrounded by orange nets as they were arrested and processed.
In that case, the federal judge found that more than 200 demonstrators were wrongfully arrested.
In the other class action case on behalf of protesters, demonstrators were arrested on 16th Street, near Union Square. In that case, the judge ruled that the facts are in dispute, and a trial can proceed. The city had been seeking a dismissal.
"All in all, it is a victory for the right to protest and its a rejection of the city's claim that when there is a large protest it's license for them to engage in mass arrests just because some people might be breaking the law," said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
In response to the ruling, the City Law Department said it is reviewing the decision and considering legal options.
Attorneys for the city also claimed a partial victory, saying it allows arrestees to be fingerprinted, which was part of the lawsuit.
The case has been winding its way through the courts for more than five years.
"There have been two other Republican conventions since the 2004 city convention and the mass arrests that went along with that. And the case isn't over yet," said Lieberman.
The case involving the 16th Street arrests is now going to trial, although no date has been set.
As for the Fulton Street case, the victims could be compensated, although an amount has yet to be determined.