The City of New York will pay $583,000 in compensation to falsely arrested Occupy protestors, the largest settlement yet in any case against the NYPD for their conduct throughout the Occupy Wall Street protests. The previous highest was $350,000, won by lawyer Norman Siegel for the destruction of property when officers cleared Zuccotti Park in 2011.

This case was based on the arrest of fourteen Occupy protestors who were marching peacefully on 2nd Avenue and 13th Street in Manhattan. The cops enclosed the protestors, telling them they were blocking the sidewalk and needed to disperse. Unable to disperse while blocked in, the officers arrested approximately 20 of them.

Gary O’Connor was one of the plaintiffs in the case, and described his arrest in a press release by the civil rights law firm Stecklow, Cohen & Thompson:

Captain Taylor personally prevented me from obeying his order, by stepping in my way and putting his hand on my chest when I tried to leave.  A few seconds later, I was on the ground with my face on the pavement and several police officers on top of me.

Partner David Thompson said of the case:

The facts of this case were sadly reminiscent of several other instances where the NYPD trapped a group of innocent protestors and arrested them.  The most famous of these is the incident on October 1, 2011, when NYPD officers led an OWS march onto the Brooklyn Bridge, and then boxed in and arrested almost 700 people.  That NYPD practice was developed to stifle peaceful protests, and it has to be stopped.  My hope is that cases like this one will help to do that.

(Photo: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)