New York City has agreed to pay hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters at least $21,500 each in a proposed settlement—just as liberal city council members push to defund the New York Police Department amid a spike in robberies, assaults, and stolen cars.
A lawsuit claiming police boxed in, pepper sprayed, and zip-tied 300 protesters during a June 2020 BLM demonstration in the Bronx could end in a $4 to $6 million settlement if a judge approves the city's proposal, the New York Times reported.
The protests came in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Officers responded to the protest after activists violated a city-wide curfew. Some protesters will receive an additional $2,500 if they were ordered to appear in court and respond to accusations.
The massive payout comes as left-wing members of the city council seek to strip funding from the NYPD. The City Council Progressive Caucus pledged to "do everything we can to reduce the size and scope of the NYPD."
The push comes as crime numbers in January spiked after a brief dip in late 2022. Crime increased by 4.1 percent in January, led by felony assaults which saw a 14.9 percent increase from 2022, according to the New York Post.
The caucus, which until last week comprised 80 percent of the council's Democratic members, lost 15 members who refused to sign the pledge. One Democratic city council member spoke anonymously to the New York Daily News, saying the goal to "defund is widely unpopular in the city."
"A lot of the members who left the Progressive Caucus agree with principles of reforming the NYPD, but aren’t willing to take the leap toward defunding the NYPD," one member told the Daily News.