NEW YORK, NY, June 28, 2021 – Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP today announced the filing of a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie and New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson against the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea, NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, and certain known and unknown NYPD officers.  The lawsuit seeks to vindicate our clients’ rights and the rights of their constituents to peacefully stand up for racial justice and speak out against police brutality without the threat or occurrence of police violence. 

On May 29, four days after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Senator Myrie and Assemblywoman Richardson took to the streets of Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center, to stand in solidarity with their constituents, who were peacefully protesting because of their concerns about policing and racial injustice in their own New York City communities.  Senator Myrie and Assemblywoman Richardson had hoped that their close, positive working relationships with local police precincts and with their constituents would promote peace and respect between the police and protestors.  Instead, they were met with violence at the hands of the NYPD:  they were pepper sprayed, hit repeatedly with bikes and, in Senator Myrie’s case, falsely arrested.

“We are privileged to serve as counsel to Senator Myrie and Assemblywoman Richardson, who had the courage to bring this case to ensure some measure of accountability for the violations of their constitutional rights during last year’s peaceful protests against racial injustice and police brutality,” said Sean Hecker, a partner with Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP. 

The lawsuit seeks damages for the injuries suffered by Senator Myrie and Assemblywoman Richardson, as well as injunctive relief to, among other things, end the increasingly common practices of (1) “kettling” – i.e., corralling protestors in confined areas to trap and arrest them en masse – and (2) using bicycles as weapons to bludgeon and batter peaceful protestors.

Sean Hecker, Joshua Matz, Alexandra Conlon, Louis Fisher, Annie O’Toole, Anne Yearwood and case manager Oliver Farnum contributed to the filing from Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP.