Monday, November 21, 2011
Given the widely circulated police activities to control protest, including the pepper spraying of students at UC-Davis, as well as other incidents, damage lawsuits against law enforcement will most likely increase.
The complaint in Carpenter v. City of New York, filed in the Southern District of New York today, alleges violations of the Fourth Amendment resulting from false arrest and excessive force.
The specific incident was October 15, 2011: an occupy event of a CitiBank in New York City. Heather Carpenter, a CitiBank account holder, and her fiance', Julio Jose Jimenez-Artunduaga, were caught up in the arrests. The complaint does allege that Carpenter was there to withdraw her money in protest, but also that she left the bank building after doing so, and that Jimenez-Artunduaga was outside the building. However, the complaint alleges that the pair were forced back into the bank, and then arrested for trespassing. (The charges were dropped).
The events were captured on video and photographs, including the photograph of Jimenez-Artunduaga's bloody hand, attached to the complaint as an exhibit.
The complaint includes claims for relief against the city, both for policies and on a theory of supervisory liability. For example, paragraph 87 alleges:
Upon information and belief, Defendant CITY OF NEW YORK planned and implemented a policy, practice, custom and usage of controlling the OWS protests and those who
attended the bank protests, that was designed to and did preempt lawful activities by ordering and effecting indiscriminate mass arrests, illegally arresting protestors, including bank customers, and needlessly detaining them for excessively long periods. Upon information and belief, the CITY OF NEW YORK consciously disregarded the illegality and unconstitutionality of said arrests and detentions in order to facilitate and promote the CITY OF NEW YORK's desired reputation as corporate friendly and pro-bank.