A man who claims to have been arrested and strip-searched after photographing New York City police has reached a $125,000 settlement with the New York Police Department (NYPD).
As the New York Daily News reports, 45-year-old Dick George told a Brooklyn federal court that in 2012, he witnessed NYPD officers conduct a stop-and-frisk operation on three young African-Americans. George photographed the encounter on his cellphone while sitting in his car, and later advised the youths to note the officers' badge numbers next time. Two officers overheard his advice and allegedly pulled him from his car, with one warning George that he was going to get what he deserves "for meddling in our business," according to court papers.
The photos were allegedly erased
George was then charged with disorderly conduct and taken back to the station, where he was strip-searched. He was held in custody for under an hour but suffered a torn meniscus during the arrest. George also claimed that the police erased the photos he took on his phone.
"After a thorough review of the case facts, it was in the best interest of all to resolve this matter without costly litigation and trial," Brian Francolla, a city attorney, said in a statement Monday.
This week's settlement comes amid heightened concerns over police aggression and misconduct, following the tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the protests it sparked in Ferguson, Missouri. In July, NYPD officers killed a Staten Island man after locking him in a chokehold during his arrest — an event that was captured on video and eventually published online. Following the incident, the NYPD circulated a memo reminding officers of the public's right to film them while on duty.
"Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions," the memo reads. "Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment."