What could be more ironic (or horrible) than an activist against police brutality being brutalized by police? Just another day, apparently.
A Black Lives Matter leader from the Bronx, N.Y., says he plans to sue the city because he says cops with the New York City Police Department went HAM on him when they arrested him at a peaceful protest in February.
It’s clear that there is tension between the police and the Black Lives Matter movement, with law enforcement seeing the group as some sort of enemy, even spawning a “Blue Lives Matter” movement in response. (Question: Ever meet a blue person?) It doesn’t seem beyond the pale that given the history of the NYPD and black people as well as the current tension, police were extra-rough with a BLM leader.
The New York Daily News reports that Walter (Hawk) Newsome, 40, president of the Black Lives Matter chapter of Greater New York, was protesting the Trump administration’s immigration ban in Washington Square Park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village on Feb. 11, when he was handcuffed and “almost killed,” according to court documents.
Newsome was looking at up to a year in the notorious New York City jail Rikers Island on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. However, the charges were dropped against him when he showed up for court in September.
“I could’ve been killed as a result of the reckless way that they slammed me on ice and concrete,” said Newsome. “Thank God that I’m not a hashtag and that people are not marching in remembrance of me.”
Newsome’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, said the lawsuit is about the right to exercise one’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech without harassment or physical repercussion.
“[They] should not be subjected to serious physical injuries at the hands of the police simply because they are exercising that right,” said Rubenstein.
The attorney says they plan to file the lawsuit Monday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
According to a bio on the BLM NY website, Newsome has a law degree and ran for City Council for the Bronx, N.Y., district where he grew up. He is also founder of the Black Lives Matter of Greater New York chapter.
Read more at the New York Daily News.