Volume 17 • Issue 27 | Nov. 26 - Dec. 02, 2004



Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Vietnam veteran William Steyert, a member of the War Resisters League, is a plaintiff in the class-action suit over the convention arrests

R.N.C. protesters file lawsuit against the city

By Lincoln Anderson

A group of protesters and bystanders who say they were wrongfully arrested during the Republican National Convention in late August and early September on Monday announced the filing of a class-action lawsuit against New York City. The defendants include Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and numerous police officials.

The announcement was made at the Center for Constitutional Rights at 666 Broadway in Noho. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the more than 1,800 people arrested during the convention, was put together by the Affirmative Litigation Committee of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. The firm of Moore and Goodman L.L.P. has taken the case.

Attorney Jonathan Moore said the city and N.Y.P.D. had “trampled” citizens’ rights during the convention. The suit charges there were violations in three areas: unlawful arrests for peaceably exercising constitutional rights of free speech, assembly and protest; imprisonment at what plaintiffs assert was an unsuitable facility — Pier 57 — where they say bus fluids had seeped into the floor, creating a toxic environment; and overly long incarceration.

Martin Stolar, N.L.G. New York Chapter president, said: “It’s truly unfortunate that the city sought to criminalize and demonize the people who came here to protest the R.N.C.”

A group of 10 people who had been arrested related experiences of being held without access to their medication, as well as, in some cases, being swept up during arrests though not involved with a protest.

Lincoln@DowntownExpress.com



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