Shortly following the arrest, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes publicly vilified the young
people, saying that they were being rowdy and violent. Eyewitnesses to
the event contradict these assertions, describing a docile group of
young people who told each other to stay put and to follow police
instructions after the group was stopped by a significant number of
officers on the way to a friend's wake.
To date, the NYPD has failed to substantiate any charges of wrongdoing
against the young people. Thirty of the young people had all charges
against them dropped, with two choosing to plead to the charges only
due to prior open cases.
"I felt from the beginning that this was not deserved by these young
people and that it was very damaging to them. I am very glad they are
finding out that if they work within the system, it can offer them a
measure of justice," said Michael Scolnick, plaintiff's attorney.
According to Scolnick, one of the youth, whose family incurred defense
expenses, will receive $23,000. Ten others will receive $20,000 each;
and six more, who were not held overnight, will receive $9,000 each.
"The NYPD and DA had it in for these youth, because of the fact that
they live in a low-income community," said Oona Chatterjee,
Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, a group supporting the
young people. "They didn't hesitate to lie about these youth in the
press. Now, they are faced with the consequences."
The unlawful arrests were perpetrated by officers of the NYPD's 83rd
precinct. Earlier this week, officers from the same precinct brutalized
Gamalier Reyes, 26, a mentally-ill man, in his apartment.
When: This Sunday, April 19, 12 noon
Where: One Police Plaza, New York, New York