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NYC Agrees to Pay 1,300 Black Lives Matter Protesters $13 Million

New York City has agreed to pay 1,300 Black Lives Matter protesters $13 million in a settlement reached on Wednesday.

Demonstrators who were arrested or assaulted by police during the 2020 BLM riots over the death of George Floyd will each receive $9,950.

Rioters arrested for assaulting an officer, arson, trespassing, weapon possession, or property destruction will not be eligible for compensation.

The Associated Press reports that if the settlement is approved by a judge it will be “among the most expensive payouts ever awarded in a lawsuit over mass arrests.”

The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit were represented by the National Lawyers Guild, who claimed that law enforcement violated the protesters’ First Amendment rights by using a tactic called “kettling,” which is when a group is surrounded and placed under a mass arrest.

“Through more than two years of litigation, attorneys for the city maintained that police were responding to a chaotic and unprecedented situation, pointing to some unruly protests in which police vehicles were set on fire and officers pelted with rocks and plastic bottles,” the AP report notes.

Under the terms of the settlement, neither the city, nor the New York Police Department, will be required to admit to any wrongdoing.

The riots during the summer of 2020 were filled with violence, arson, and multiple deaths nationwide.

Fox News reports, “Protests and riots following the 2020 killing of Floyd resulted in at least 18 deaths, $350 million worth of property damage in the Minneapolis area, and nearly $2 billion nationwide. About 10,000 people were arrested in the span of a few days.”

Over 600 people have also sued the city individually over incidents during the riots. Roughly half of the cases have already been settled, costing New York taxpayers approximately $12 million — so far.

“There is no history — or present or future — of unconstitutional policing,” Georgia Pestana, an attorney for the city, wrote in a memo, according to the Fox report. “There is no frequent deprivation of constitutional rights.”

Wylie Stecklow, one of the attorneys representing the protesters, told the AP that “the growing cost to taxpayers” should serve as a “red flag” for city leaders about the NYPD’s inability to correct its “decades old problem with constitutionally compliant protest policing.”

“While the arc of the moral universe is indeed long, sometimes it needs reform to bend towards justice,” Stecklow said.

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