New York City has agreed to pay more than $13 million to settle claims from people arrested or beaten by police during the George Floyd protests in 2020.
The settlement was filed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday, and if approved by a judge, it could potentially rank among the most substantial payouts ever granted in a lawsuit concerning mass arrests.
About 1,300 people would be eligible for compensation, and they would get just under $10,000 each.
The plaintiffs' lawyers alleged that the New York Police Department orchestrated a "coordinated" campaign of brutality and unlawful arrests, violating the protesters' First Amendment rights. These incidents occurred during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in 18 different locations across New York City during the week following George Floyd's murder.
Attorneys for New York City argued that there was no systematic effort to deprive people of their First Amendment rights.
"There is no history—or present or future—of unconstitutional policing," Georgia Pestana, an attorney for the city, wrote in a memo obtained by the Associated Press. "There is no frequent deprivation of constitutional rights."
Under the settlement agreement, both the city and the NYPD are not required to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Protesters facing charges such as trespassing, property destruction, assaulting an officer, arson, or possession of weapons will not be eligible for a settlement.
New York City is not the only city negotiating settlements of this nature, as more than 10,000 people were arrested across the U.S. during the 2020 protests decrying racism and police brutality, according to data obtained by the AP.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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