On Wednesday, the City of New York settled a class-action lawsuit filed at Federal District Court in Manhattan by George Floyd rioters, agreeing to pay $13.7 million in damages.
The plaintiffs claimed that members of the New York Police Department had “violated” their rights via the use of “unlawful” tactics.
According to the New York Times, under the terms of the settlement, the city would pay around $10,000 to each of the 1,380 people who were “arrested and/or subjected to force by NYPD officers” during the 2020 riots in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
While a number of those involved in the class action lawsuit had been arrested, many were not, and simply claimed that they had had the ability to exercise their First Amendment rights impeded.
In an interview with Business Insider, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Elena Cohen, said the goal of the lawsuit was to protect peoples’ rights.
“This is about people in New York City being able to protest, being able to be in the streets, being able to say what they think about the government,” she said, “and to do it without being afraid that they’re going to be physically hurt.”
Lawyers for the city argued that the protests were often not peaceful, highlighting that some “devolved to looting and rioting.”
“Protesters set police cars ablaze; vandalized precinct houses; threw rocks, bricks, bottles at officers; stabbed, punched, bit officers; and hurled Molotov cocktails at officers,” they added.