“Chaos & Violence”: NYC to Pay $13M to Those Attacked by Police in 2020 Black Lives Matter Protests


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In a landmark $13 million settlement, New York City has agreed to pay 1,300 people attacked by police while protesting the Minnesota police murder of George Floyd in 2020. Sow v. City of New York yielded the largest total payout to protesters in a class-action suit in U.S. history, totaling about $10,000 per person. The suit focused on how police violated protesters’ civil and constitutional rights by making mass arrests and using excessive force that included improper use of pepper spray and using a tactic called kettling to trap and arrest protesters before a curfew went into effect. The case used a video analysis tool developed by SITU Research that can quickly analyze massive amounts of police body-camera video, aerial footage and social media videos. “The settlement is historic and incredibly important,” says civil rights attorney and co-counsel for the plaintiffs Gideon Oliver. “It’s also in some ways only as important as what we make it mean.” We also speak with Dara Pluchino, a social worker and plaintiff in the case, who describes her experience being kettled. “Once the curfew hit, then that is when chaos occurred and violence occurred.”