En Español Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Legal Services
Type: Press Advisory

City agrees to pay over $250,000 in settlement fees to unlawfully arrested Bushwick youth



PRESS ADVISORY from Make the Road New York

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2009

Contact:  Oona Chatterjee (347) 268-1892

City agrees to pay over $250,000 in settlement fees to unlawfully arrested Bushwick youth

Community
members and plaintiffs express sense of vindication after months of
egregious lies from DA Charles Hynes and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

Brooklyn, New York
– Sixteen of 32 young people swept up in an unlawful mass arrest in
Bushwick, Brooklyn last May by officers from Brooklyn’s 83rd precinct
will receive a sizable settlement from the city after being unlawfully
arrested in May of 2007. The youth, as well as the community
organization Make the Road New York, will hold a press conference at 1
Police Plaza this Sunday, April 19th, at 12 noon to announce the
settlement.


Shortly following the arrest, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes publicly vilified the young
people, saying that they were being rowdy and violent. Eyewitnesses to
the event contradict these assertions, describing a docile group of
young people who told each other to stay put and to follow police
instructions after the group was stopped by a significant number of
officers on the way to a friend’s wake.


To date, the NYPD has failed to substantiate any charges of wrongdoing
against the young people. Thirty of the young people had all charges
against them dropped, with two choosing to plead to the charges only
due to prior open cases.


"I felt from the beginning that this was not deserved by these young
people and that it was very damaging to them. I am very glad they are
finding out that if they work within the system, it can offer them a
measure of justice," said Michael Scolnick, plaintiff’s attorney.
According to Scolnick, one of the youth, whose family incurred defense
expenses, will receive $23,000. Ten others will receive $20,000 each;
and six more, who were not held overnight, will receive $9,000 each.


"The NYPD and DA had it in for these youth, because of the fact that
they live in a low-income community," said Oona Chatterjee,
Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, a group supporting the
young people. "They didn’t hesitate to lie about these youth in the
press. Now, they are faced with the consequences."


The unlawful arrests were perpetrated by officers of the NYPD’s 83rd
precinct. Earlier this week, officers from the same precinct brutalized
Gamalier Reyes, 26, a mentally-ill man, in his apartment.

When:  This Sunday, April 19, 12 noon

Where: One Police Plaza, New York, New York

Photo opportunity. Interviews with youth plaintiffs and attorney available.