Legal Aid Society


LAS, NYCLU Secure Over $500K for Protesters Brutalized by NYPD

The Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) announced a $512,000 settlement in Payne v. Mayor Bill de Blasio, litigation filed over the NYPD’s indiscriminate brutalization of peaceful protesters during the demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd.

“With this injunctive relief settlement, we’ve accomplished some police reform. Yet, we can still believe that it is not enough. It is another step in the overall goal of reducing police presence and their role in the community.” said Jarrett Payne, a plaintiff in the case. “While there is some comfort in receiving damages, I would prefer a healthy society that doesn’t rely on police and state violence.”

“While this settlement will never completely right what our clients suffered at the hands of the NYPD during the summer of 2020, we hope that it provides some much needed closure, allowing them to move on with their lives,” said Jennvine Wong, Supervising Attorney with Legal Aid’s Cop Accountability Project. “Until the NYPD meaningfully addresses their culture of impunity, these settlements will continue to balloon, with taxpayers footing the costs.”

While this settlement is monetary, the underlying litigation has also resulted in major reforms to how the NYPD polices protests. In September 2023, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Legal Aid, and the NYCLU announced a landmark settlement with the NYPD that holds the Department to its oath to protect New Yorkers’ right to protest. The agreement will reduce police presence and violence at protests.