1st Amendment News

Judge sides with “troublemakers,” rules OWS class action suit v. NYPD mass arrests may proceed

On Thursday, US District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that the class action suit filed by the 700 individuals swept up in a mass arrest on Brooklyn Bridge in Octboer may proceed, denying New York Police Department officers assertion that they were entitled to qualified immunity from the arrests.

The ruling opens with the following:

“What a huge debt this nation owes to its ‘troublemakers.’ From Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King, Jr., they have forced us to focus on problems we would prefer to downplay or ignore. Yet it is often only with hindsight that we can distinguish those troublemakers who brought us to our senses from those who were simply . . . troublemakers. Prudence, and respect for the constitutional rights to free speech and free association, therefore dictate that the legal system cut all non-violent protesters a fair amount of slack. These observations are prompted by the instant lawsuit, in which a putative class of some 700 or so ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters contend they were unlawfully arrested while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011.”

Read the complete story, including links to the ruling at Partnership for Civil Justice: Court Victory for Brooklyn Bridge Arrestees – Federal Judge Rules that Class Action Lawsuit Can Proceed

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