About 500 attorneys at large Manhattan firms have volunteered to help with a Legal Aid Society clinic focused on assisting people who have been victims of police misconduct amid New York City’s ongoing protests for racial justice, Legal Aid announced Thursday.
The “Cop Accountability Clinic” will help protesters who were falsely arrested or faced other misconduct file complaints against individual officers with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, according to a Legal Aid news release.
Complaints filed with the CCRB, which is a civilian oversight agency independent from the NYPD, have increased in connection with the protests. Public radio station WNYC reported that more complaints were filed during a three-day period early in the protests than in the entire month of April. Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating the NYPD’s response to the protests.
In addition to helping with the CCRB process, the volunteer attorneys will be available to provide advice on filing a notice of claim for potential civil rights suits, according to Legal Aid.
The lawyers involved come from 20 different firms, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Debevoise & Plimpton; Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe; Schulte Roth & Zabel; and Sidley Austin, according to a Legal Aid spokesman.
Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense practice, said the clinic will help ensure people can navigate through the legal process.
“For New Yorkers who were falsely arrested, brutalized or who witnessed misconduct during the demonstrations, you have a right to file a complaint with the CCRB and a lawsuit against the city to establish that your rights were violated,” Luongo said. “This can oftentimes be an intimidating and arcane process, and this clinic will ensure that New Yorkers can get connected to lawyers who are standing by and ready to assist them in holding cops accountable for their misconduct during the protests.”