By Daniel Trotta
(Reuters) – The New York City Police Department on Tuesday agreed to scale back enforcement of street protests, such as those that erupted after George Floyd’s death in 2020, introducing a series of reforms, including banning the tactic known as as ‘chain’.
Kettling involves creating a cordon of police officers to surround and control a crowd. Critics say this tactic traps lawful protesters and innocent bystanders.
The police will also create a new senior executive role to oversee responses to demonstrations, give the press more leeway to cover marches, and create a four-level response to protests designed to de-escalate conflict and prevent excessive use. of violence, according to a file. in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
These lawsuits were filed in response to a raucous 2020 summer of protests when police cracked down on demonstrations against police brutality and in favor of African American rights after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Similar protests rocked cities across the United States. .
“Today’s settlement represents a new approach to police protests that, if faithfully executed by the NYPD, will ensure that protesters never again experience the kind of indiscriminate violence and retaliation that New York saw in the summer of 2020,” said Legal. Aid. said attorney Corey Stoughton in the statement.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agreement reforms police policy on encircling demonstrators who have been inadvertently or wrongly detained, allowing them to leave the scene, and prohibits “chainling,” which the settlement describes as enclosing targeted individuals without there is a probable reason for holding them.
The four-level response protocol begins with level one, when a police affairs liaison is sent to facilitate the protest, and can escalate to level four, when an incident commander can disperse a crowd if there is widespread criminal behavior.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Leslie Adler)