New York City Law Blog

Your Civil Rights Are Precious

The George Floyd Protests and the Future

I’ve litigated many police misconduct cases. These include excessive force (or police brutality), false arrest, malicious prosecution, interference with fair trial by perjury, and other areas. I have mostly practiced employment discrimination because juries understand that; regrettably, most juries do not understand police brutality, but maybe, finally, they will now. I turn away most cases because there is some legal flaw, not a fault of the victim, that prevents (or will prevent) a case from success.

I was lucky to get an article published in Salon, June 3, 2020, as I watched the protests unfold on social media. I was rushed to get it out but was able to draw on 25 years of cases I have brought, plus thoughts I’ve had about policing, and – as carried out especially among the urban poor –  its many ill effects on society. Police departments can do better, but there are many reasons why they do not.  You can read the article here. ) I don’t know how to embed but there was a great graphic, so take a look.)

I wrote the essay feeling that the protests would, once again, result in no meaningful change. But day by day, I sensed the public conversation was changing. I relish that nationwide protests finally arrived (though I don’t mean looting, for sure). I hope that most Americans who saw the violence inflicted on peaceful protesters as I did. Time will tell, but there is no victory in that it had to come to what it did.

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