New York City Will Pay $18 Million Settlement for Unlawfully Arresting Protesters at 2004 Republican National Convention
This is big: the New York Civil Liberties Union announced today that the city has agreed to pay an $18 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the NYCLU after hundreds of protesters and journalists were arrested here during a single protest during the 2004 Republican National Convention. In addition to bringing an end to a ten-year lawsuit, this is a big deal for another reason: it's the largest settlement paid in connection with a civil rights protest in U.S. history.
Screenshot via NYCLU A police officer directs protesters during the August 31, 2004 RNC march.
"No lawful protester should ever be treated like a criminal in New York City, or anywhere else in the United States," said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman in a statement announcing the settlement. "This historic settlement must serve as a reminder to New York City and government across the country that the right to protest is a fundamental pillar of a fair and functioning democracy. And it is the role of government and law enforcement to not only tolerate protest, but protect and defend it."