Legal Aid Society


LAS Demands Investigation Into NYPD Crackdown on Student Protests

The Legal Aid Society is calling on the New York City Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Police Department (OIG-NYPD) to review the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) problematic crackdown on protests at local universities and colleges that led to widespread violations of protesters’ rights.

Legal Aid urged the OIG-NYPD to investigate reports of the NYPD slamming protesters to the ground, pushing others, and throwing one protester down the stairs, along with reports that the NYPD indiscriminately used pepper spray on protesters, legal observers, and journalists.

Legal Aid also called for a probe into the NYPD’s reckless decision to deploy paramilitary-style units into Hamilton Hall at Columbia University, where an NYPD officer ‘accidentally’ discharged his weapon, endangering the protesters, and the NYPD’s initial decision to withhold this information from the general public.

NYPD’s detention practices also require a thorough review. This includes the NYPD arresting and processing demonstrators who were charged with low-level offenses and who should have received an appearance ticket.

“The NYPD’s aggressive and militaristic response to student protests that led to rampant violations of protesters’ constitutional and statutory rights deserves immediate scrutiny and accountability,” said Tina Luongo, Chief Attorney of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society.

“From the NYPD illegally detaining protesters; holding students in custody for over 24 hours, despite New York’s 24-hour arrest to arraignment standard; the discharge of a firearm in a building with unarmed students; and troubling use of social media to attack anyone – elected officials, journalists, advocates and others – who question the Department’s methods, the OIG-NYPD must immediately launch a probe into these widespread abuses of authority,” they continued.