A Black Lives Matter protester is reportedly filing a $5 million lawsuit against New York City bicycle cops who he claims beat him during a wrongful arrest back in March.
According to the New York Daily News, Walter “Hawk” Newsome was crowded by five cops. Video of the incident apparently shows one officer viciously punching Newsome in the head as the others drag him to the ground during a protest on Manhattan’s Upper West Side against the shooting death of Stephon Clark.
Newsome, who was carrying a sign that read “Blue Klux Klan,” was taken down out of nowhere, with no warning, if the clip is anything to go by.
The cops were also captured seemingly high-fiving one another shortly after the beating.
“I’m screaming and they’re celebrating,” Newsome, 41, told the Daily News. “It felt like 50 cops were on top of me. At one point I was laying there with my arms in front of me—and they were still on top of me, pulling my shoulder back. They threw a bike down on top of me.”
Newsome said that officers ran up on him after an officer used his bike to repeatedly bump him during the march.
“When I told him to stop pushing me, that’s when I was arrested,” he said. “They have absolute power. They can arrest us whenever they want.”
The activist claims that he sustained a torn rotator cuff.
The New York City Police Department “illegally and without a proper warrant or cause, did … falsely arrest and imprison [Newsome],” a notice of claim read. “[He] was grabbed and had his arms twisted, kicked, pushed, slammed to the ground, pushed into and hit with a bicycle … [and] falsely imprisoned.”
On top of it all, Newsome said that he was detained for 22 hours before he was finally charged with obstructing government administration.
“This raises serious issues,” his lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, told the Daily News. “Does the NYPD target leaders at civil rights demonstrations for arrest?”
Newsome, who had filed a previous lawsuit against the NYPD last year after he was arrested at a Washington Square Park rally, faced up to a year in Rikers Island jail over the February protest. However, prosecutors ultimately dismissed all charges against Newsome. His lawsuit over that incident is still pending.