Photograph by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.
Four city council members filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City on Monday for its response to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, alleging that city police used excessive force and violated free speech rights as part of its crackdown on protesters.
The Associated Press reports that the lawmakers also claim that city officials arrested protesters on questionable charges and interfered with journalists and city council members who attempted to observe the demonstrations. JPMorgan and Brookfield Office Properties are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, Bloomberg notes.
"This unlawful conduct has been undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring and retaliating against (the) plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally protected protest activity," the lawsuit alleges.
The council members are calling for an independent monitor to review all of the more than 2,000 OWS-related arrests and further explore the city's decision to temporarily close Zuccotti Park and other public spaces during the protests. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.
The four council members behind the effort are Letitia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Jumaane Williams. All but James faced charges stemming from their attendance at the demonstrations, all of which have either been dropped or are on track to be dismissed.
Also joining the suit as plaintiffs: a local Democratic Party official, freelance journalists, and Occupy activists. While OWS activists have taken their case to court in the past over specific conflicts with the city, the AP explains that the new lawsuit is a "nearly 150-page compendium of complaints, amplified by the council members' participation." The AP has more on the suit here.