A federal appeals panel ruled
Wednesday that cops' use of Long Range Acoustic Devices against
protesters can be considered excessive force
By Victoria Bekiempis
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A federal appeals panel ruled
Wednesday that cops' use of noise cannons against peaceful protesters
can be considered excessive force.
Three judges from the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals issued their decision in Manhattan Federal
Court case over the use of sound cannons at a December 2014 protest.
Six people attending that protest, which developed after a grand jury
decided not to indict any police officers in the chokehold death of
Eric Garner, claim NYPD cops wrongly blasted them with Long Range
Acoustic Devices, or LRADs.
The attendees, represented by lawyers
Gideon Orion Oliver, Elena L. Cohen and Michael Decker, alleged they
endured pain and migraines from the sound blast.
"In a narrow
ruling, we hold that purposefully using a LRAD in a manner capable of
causing serious injury to move non-violent protesters to the sidewalks
violates the Fourteenth Amendment under clearly established law," the
The Second Circuit panel also rejected two cops'
push for immunity from the lawsuit, claiming they weren't informed that
nonviolent protesters were protected from excessive force.
their view, because this Court has not applied 'substantive due process
principles to crowd control,' the officers lacked notice that the right
against excessive force applies to nonviolent protesters," the decision
said. "But that is like saying police officers who run over people
crossing the street illegally can claim immunity simply because we have
never addressed a (constitutional) claim involving jaywalkers."
would convert the fair notice requirement into a presumption against
the existence of basic constitutional rights," the ruling also stated.
Asked for comment on the ruling, the city Law Department said "We are reviewing the decision."