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A pair of Brooklyn state lawmakers on Monday filed suit against the city, the NYPD and several top police officials, claiming they were rammed by cops with bicycles and pepper sprayed during an anti-police brutality protest last summer.
State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson and state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, both Democrats representing Crown Heights and surrounding areas, claim in the Brooklyn federal court suit that their constitutional rights — including their First Amendment Right to free speech — were violated by the cops during the protest outside Barclays Center last May.
The suit claims the lawmakers were assaulted by cops on May 29 after the NYPD announced they were going to break up the protest — and began “kettling” demonstrators near the arena.
Advancing cops then smashed into some of the protesters with their bikes, including Richardson and Myrie, the suit states.
“The bicycle officers forcibly rammed their bicycles into Assemblywoman Richardson’s legs, lower abdomen, and pelvic area, hitting her repeatedly,” the suit states.
“The bicycle officers began forcibly ramming bicycles into Senator Myrie’s Bak, arms, and legs, hitting him repeatedly,” it adds.
Both of the lawmakers were pepper sprayed during the commotion after questioning the cops’ use of force, the suit adds.
The pair are seeking damages to be determined at trial.
The protest outside of Barclays Center that evening was the first major demonstration in the city following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Riots and looting eventually took hold in the New York in the days after — and vandals destroyed some 300 NYPD vehicles during the uprisings, costing taxpayers nearly $1 million.
The NYPD’s chief of department, Rodney Harrison, said at an unrelated press conference that it’s important for the department to learn from mistakes as they move forward.
“Ninety-nine percent of our interactions I want to say end up positive. You’re going to have a percentage, unfortunately, that don’t go the direction that we like,” Harrison said.
“It’s important that we learn from these mistakes and become a better police department to protect the city,” he added.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the City Law Department said they would review the claims in the suit.
“The NYPD has a longstanding track record of successfully protecting the right of the public to protest while ensuring public safety, and is committed to strengthening those efforts. We will review these claims,” the spokesperson said.
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