Debevoise and Legal Aid Society Defeat New York City’s Motion to Dismiss Unlawful Arrest and Detainment Suit

10 April 2023

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and the Legal Aid Society, have defeated the City of New York’s motion to dismiss Douglas et al. v. City of New York et al., a lawsuit that the firm has filed on behalf of five clients (plaintiffs) who were unlawfully arrested, detained for long periods, and injured by members of the New York Police Department (NYPD). These events occurred during the 2020 George Floyd demonstrations, instead of receiving appearance tickets, as required under New York Criminal Procedure Law, Section 150.20.

In January 2020, New York enacted bail reform legislation, in part which amended New York Criminal Procedure Law (C.P.L.”) § 150.20 to mandate that for low-level offenses, police officers are to issue appearance tickets, rather than arrest individuals suspected of committing such offenses. In May and June 2020, the NYPD arrested the plaintiffs in New York City for low-level offenses, at or near demonstrations protesting the murder of George Floyd and police brutality, for which an appearance ticket is mandated. Though all charges against all of the plaintiffs were dismissed, or were never even filed with a court, the NYPD unlawfully arrested, handcuffed, and in some instances physically brutalized the plaintiffs.

The firm looks forward to vindicating the plaintiffs’ rights as the case proceeds.

The Debevoise team was led by litigation partner Andrew Ceresney and counsel Jared Kagan and included associates Brandon Fetzer, Alexa Lopez, Daniel Joiner and Samantha Singh.