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New York police pledge to ease tactics against protesters

Three police officers in Southeast DC were shot, according to authorities.
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Police in New York City agreed Tuesday to drop controversial techniques to control demonstrators after being sued for alleged brutality in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Edward Caban announced the change as part of a deal with prosecutors to resolve lawsuits accusing the police of excessive force against protestors.

The city will implement “new practices to better address the unique challenges that arise during spontaneous protests, keep New Yorkers safe, and respect every person’s First Amendment rights to free speech,” Adams and Caban said in a statement.

They agreed to the change in a formal settlement with New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who sued the city and the police force in January 2021 over their heavy-handed approach to the racial justice protests.

In mid-2020 much of the United States was swept by protests over law enforcement mistreatment of African Americans in the wake of the police murder of Black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.

As the protests in New York grew violent, marked by looting and vandalism, police arrested some 2,000 people, using an aggressive encirclement technique called “kettling.”

But protesters said the police showed no just cause for arresting many of them, violating their rights.

In many cases police were also seen hitting protestors with batons and using other techniques that were viewed as unwarranted.

In a detailed reformulation of their rules for managing protests, police agreed that they would no longer use the kettling technique for broad groups.

Instead, they could use encirclement to arrest targeted individuals where there is probable cause of a crime having been committed.

They also agreed to restrict the use of batons, not using them on someone’s head unless the officer faces serious injury.

In addition, the new rules said batons cannot be brandished to intimidate people who are peacefully protesting.

The agreement also required the city to compensate hundreds of demonstrators who were victims in 2020 of police tactics $21,500 each.

Adams, himself a former New York police officer, said the agreement balances the need for public safety with people’s rights to protest.

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of American freedom, and the right to public safety is essential for our city to function,” Adams said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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