A New York Black Lives Matter activist is suing the NYPD for emotional distress and civil rights violations, claiming officers “almost killed him” at an anti-Trump protest last February.
Walter “Hawk” Newsome, president of the Greater New York BLM chapter, was facing more than a year in prison on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for his actions at a protest against President Donald Trump’s travel ban in February, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.
Prosecutors later agreed to drop the charges on the condition that he make it six months without getting arrested. Now, Newsome says he is suing police, with the official documents expected to be filed Monday.
“I could’ve been killed as a result of the reckless way that they slammed me on ice and concrete,” Newsome told reporters Sunday. “Thank God that I’m not a hashtag and that people are not marching in remembrance of me.”
Newsome’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, claimed his client is just one of many protesters who have been violated by police for exercising their First Amendment rights. Newsome was one of five BLM activists identified as ringleaders and charged by police at the February protest.
Police have declined to comment on the lawsuit until it has been officially filed. Newsome’s attorney is demanding an unspecified amount for damages incurred by civil rights violations, false imprisonment, false arrest, and emotional distress.
“We cannot comment on whether these allegations have any merit before a full review of the complaint and the facts of the incident,” a city law department spokesman told NYDN. “If a lawsuit is filed, we will respond accordingly.”
Rubenstein will argue the case before the Manhattan Supreme Court once it has been filed.
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