The city will pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a protester who was struck by an NYPD cruiser in Park Slope during the 2020 wave of Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The incident occurred on May 30th of 2020, when thousands of Brooklynites took to the streets to decry police violence following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
As demonstrators flooded Flatbush Avenue, two police SUVs were stopped by a wave of protesters who placed themselves, and a metal fence, in front of the cars in an attempt to block them from advancing. Video shows one of the vehicles driving through the crowd, while the other rams into the barricade and knocking several people over.
Wtf!!! #BlacklivesMaters #brooklynprotest pic.twitter.com/S1oet8JC0x
— Pierre G. (@pgarapon) May 31, 2020
Among the people injured was 35-year-old Aaron Ross of Sheepshead Bay, who says he suffered herniated discs and spinal trauma from the incident.
“The video was upsetting, and I wish the officers hadn’t done that,” said then-Mayor Bill de Blasio after watching the video, during a press conference at the time. “But I also understood that they didn’t start this situation. This situation was started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle. It’s unacceptable.”
He later backtracked, and called the NYPD’s actions “dangerous and unacceptable.”
The officers driving the cars, Daniel Alvarez and Andrey Samusev, did not face disciplinary action by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, however, recommended charges against the officers, which now places the matter in the hands of top NYPD brass, who have not yet made a determination in the case.
Former NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea also defended the officers during questioning from Attorney General Letitia James. He said he did not believe Alvarez and Samusev had violated department policy, because they were “penned in by protesters.”
Outside of the inter-NYPD handling of the case, the officers did not face criminal charges for their actions.
As a civil matter, Ross filed a lawsuit against the city for damages — a matter that was settled with the recent $75,000 payout, which Gothamist first reported.
The settlement comes after city taxpayers paid out $121 million in police misconduct lawsuits in 2022, the highest total in five years, according to a Legal Aid Society analysis of city data.
“The city continues to pay out astronomical amounts for NYPD misconduct,” said Jennvine Wong, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project. “What that means is that the city is not taking NYPD misconduct and accountability for that misconduct seriously enough.”