Many protesters found themselves trapped in “pens” and subsequently attacked or arrested by the police department as they protested the upcoming invasion of Iraq by the US.
Civil rights attorneys today are filing a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of protesters in the February 15th, 2003 anti-war rally in New York City.
During the protests, the New York Police Department implemented a policy of mass arrests as a method of crowd control.
The suit charges that the NYPD knowingly created a hostile climate on the day of the protests by blockading the streets leading to the rally and creating a “enormous bottleneck of thousands of demonstrators.” As a result, many protesters found themselves trapped and subsequently attacked or arrested by the police department.
The suit alleges protester’s First Amendment right to free expression and protest and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process were denied by the actions of the NYPD.
Among the claims made in the suit are excessive use of police force, arbitrary and capricious arrests of citizens and lengthy detentions.
- Bill Goodman, civil rights attorney and former legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.