Bloomberg News

Wall Street Protesters Want Talks on City’s Police Tactics

October 06, 2011

(Updates with lawyer’s name in third paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- A lawyer for anti-Wall Street protesters arrested in a march across New York’s Brooklyn Bridge said her clients hope to talk with city representatives to resolve what she called a “pattern and practice of police misconduct.”

Five protesters sued the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly Oct. 4 for allegedly violating their civil rights in the Oct. 1 arrests. The protesters, who seek to sue on behalf of about 700 people arrested in the march, claimed police lured them onto the bridge’s roadway to trap and arrest them.

In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan today, attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said the protesters may ask for a court order to force the New York City Police Department to change its tactics if they can’t reach agreement with the city.

The protesters, whose demonstration continued today in Lower Manhattan, are seeking a declaration nullifying the arrests and saying that the police violated the U.S. Constitution. They want Rakoff to bar the city from using similar tactics in the future. The group is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Rakoff said he expects the case to be tried by June. He set Dec. 7 for arguments on an anticipated request by the city to have the case dismissed.

Kate O’Brien Ahlers, a spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department, had no immediate comment on the suit.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.

Police have said protesters were warned not to block the roadway and that those at the rear were allowed to leave.

The case is Garcia v. Bloomberg, 11-06957, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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