Occupy Wall Street

The Second Circuit ruled that a trial court improperly instructed a jury on assault claims against a police officer arising from the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. While New York law allows the use of reasonable force by police for crowd control, the justification charge given to the jury indicated the officer’s subjective intent could be considered, which is contrary to the objective standard of assessment in the law. Because that error was prejudicial, a new trial is warranted.

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Cellphone Evidence

A New Jersey state appeals court overturned a man’s assault conviction as unjust after the trial court refused to allow the jury to see a cellphone video of the defendant’s family’s interaction with police at the scene of the crime. The video directly rebutted the prosecutor’s claim that family members lied about their attempt to speak to the police, and contradicted police claims that they thoroughly canvassed the area for witnesses.

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Protester Assault

An elderly protester who was seen in a viral video being shoved to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York, last summer sued the city and several officers, saying they assaulted him and then walked past him as he lay unconscious on the sidewalk with blood pouring from his skull. He also claims a weeklong curfew in response to Black Lives Matter protests was unconstitutional.

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