Photographs included in the Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief show abuses by the New York Police Department and examples of injuries suffered by some of the participants in the George Floyd-inspired anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests of 2020. Office of the New York State Attorney General (Fair Use)

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss mum as State Attorney General Letitia James seizes moral authority to sue the NYPD over Constitutional rights violations

In the landmark Constitutional rights lawsuit against the NYPD, the top State prosecutor Letitia James has shown-up the Nation’s top Federal prosecutor in New York’s southern district, Audrey Strauss.

By Progress New York Staff

The office of Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss is laying low following the filing of a landmark Federal Constitutional rights lawsuit by Attorney General Letitia James (D-NY) against the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC), New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, and NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss is the Nation’s top Federal prosecutor in the self-styled prestigious Southern District of New York. It’s typically Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss’ job to file groundbreaking Federal lawsuits to enforce Constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties. But with Attorney General James’ filing of a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, which reportedly seeks the appointment of a Federal monitor over the NYPD, Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss has been usurped of her thunder.

For this report, the media office supporting Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss refused to make formal responses to media inquiries.

With the filing of the Federal lawsuit to end the NYPD’s Constitutional rights violations, the State Attorney General toppled the Acting U.S. Attorney’s standing as the most independent and capable for handling complex civil litigation.

The allegations asserted in the Federal lawsuit included the making by NYPD Officers of mass arrests without first establishing probable cause ; the deploying of chemical weapons, like pepper spray, without justification ; the using of force, like batons and other objects, against protesters without justification, and the targeting and retaliating against protesters’ protected First Amendment activities with such a frequency “so as to constitute customers or usages of the NYPD.” The Complaint included allegations of violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and negligence, amongst other claims.

The Federal lawsuit chose to ringfence the NYPD’s misconduct to the 2003 antiwar protests, the 2004 Republic National Convention protests, and the Occupy Wall Street protests.  As reported by Progress New York, the NYPD’s undermining of First Amendment rights have also included the 1998 Matthew Shepard memorial marchthe 2002 World Economic Forum, and the 2014 police killing protests.

As if to place emphasis on the fact that the New York State Attorney General’s Office was celebrating taking the lead on such complex litigation, the Complaint alleged that “a substantial part of the events … arose in the Southern District of New York.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss is a former C-suite executive for a mining corporation. Despite the decades of serious NYPD misconducted alleged in the issuance of a series of civil rights reports over the last few decades, Progress New York has reported that Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss has described the NYPD as a partner, who she commends, at times calling them “outstanding.”

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