NYPD to Pay $15 Million for Illegally Arresting People

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been illegally arresting people under laws that were deemed unconstitutional far in advance of the arrests:

For almost 30 years — from 1983 to 2012 — the New York Police Department went about arresting people under laws that state and federal courts had long declared unconstitutional, cuffing and booking almost 22,000 people. In 2010, federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin finally held them in contempt of court. Yesterday, she signed an order approving what is effectively their punishment: a $15 million class-action settlement that could generate individual payments of as much as $5,000.

Those arrested were forced to defend themselves in court and even served jail time for completely lawful behavior. The class action settlement also requires the city to help the courts vacate and seal all convictions stemming from the illegal arrests.

This story doesn’t surprise me, especially coming from New York City. Perhaps this is the reason Mayor Bloomberg wants to prohibit guns so desperately, he need to keep the denizens of his city disarmed less they rise up and refuse to comply with the police making illegal arrests.

What’s really sad is the fact our country has reached a point where police officers not only arrest people for perfectly lawful activity but juries are more than happy to hand out a guilty verdict. Once again we come to the fact that jury nullification is one of the few options we have left in our toolbox to prevent tyranny and most people absolutely refuse to use it (likewise potential jurors who know about their powers are disallowed from sitting on a jury).

Over the years I’ve changed my outlook on prisons and people who have been in prison. Previously if I heard somebody was pronounced guilty of a crime and went t prison because of it I offered no protest. Now I give prisoners the benefit of the doubt because a huge majority of them are in prison for victimless crimes. When somebody gets thrown into prison their life is often destroyed as future employment because difficult, if not impossible. Without the prospect of obtaining work many former prisoners end up becoming repeat offenders because no legal means of survival is available to them. After being released from prison your slate should be considered clean as your punishment has been completed; instead our government continues the punishment for the entirety of many former prisoner’s lives. The people wrongfully arrested in New York have lost years of their life because they violated laws that weren’t even laws at the time. We live in a police state and the fact things like this happen prove it.

2 thoughts on “NYPD to Pay $15 Million for Illegally Arresting People”

  1. And every lawyer, judge and prosecutor that allowed these cases to go to trial let alone allow conviction should be disbarred and made to pay restitutions. If we cannot use ignorance of the law as a defense, then those whose sole job is to know the law should be held to a higher standard.

    1. If we cannot use ignorance of the law as a defense, then those whose sole job is to know the law should be held to a higher standard.

      You know I never even thought about brining that up but it’s a damned fine point.

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