Judge blocks evidence from Eric Adams and Kichant Sewell in New York protest case – de Blasio could be on the hook

Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell avoided being overthrown in a wide-ranging lawsuit against the city over how police officers treated protesters in 2020, according to a ruling Monday.

But former Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea may still have to testify, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Gabriel Gorenstein added during a telephone hearing.

Lawyers for protesters and others suing the city, including the New York Attorney General’s Office, have requested sworn statements from Adams and Sewell on current NYPD tactics and policies to compare information to what was available over the summer. 2020.

But Gorenstein said on Monday he had “no indication that we needed to go that high” to get a clear picture of how the policy has changed since 2020.

Bill de Blasio and Dermot Shea
Former Mayor de Blasio and former NYPD Commissioner Shea may still be required to testify under oath.
Tide Barron / NY Post

Lawyers for the protesters specifically wanted to question Adams because of claims he made last year that civilians were filming police officers while they were on duty, attorney Remy Greene said at the hearing.

“Stop controlling my cops while they are doing their job,” Adams said at a press briefing in March 2022. “This is unacceptable and unacceptable.”

Eric Adams and Kichant Sewell
Adams and Sewell were not in the office during the 2020 demonstrations.
William Farrington

Greene said Adams’ statement is the key to one of the lawsuits against the city related to the behavior of the NYPD at demonstrations in 2020.

Gorenstein said he was not yet comfortable making a decision about whether de Blasio or Shea should testify in the case, and asked lawyers on both sides to submit more letters detailing their arguments in support of their positions.

2020 protests
The case is an amalgamation of several lawsuits filed in the wake of the 2020 protests.

The federal lawsuit is an amalgamation of a series of lawsuits filed in the wake of the George Floyd protests that swept through the city in the summer of 2020.

The case included a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of protesters who were detained, beaten and sprayed by NYPD officers in the Bronx.

The lawsuit was settled last week, with city officials agreeing to pay the protesters $21,500 each, or more than $6 million in total.

A spokesman for the city’s legal department declined to comment on the ruling on Monday.

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