Proposed Revisions to Handschu Settlement Filed March 6, 2017

By Executive Director, March 7, 2017 3:44 pm

Counsel for the Handschu class filed proposed revisions reached with the New York City Police Department, responding to concerns of a federal court judge who reviewed a January 2016 settlement of a Handschu case enforcement motion.  The enforcement motion was made in response to disclosures by the Associated Press that the NYPD conducted a Muslim Surveillance program, and sought remedies to address violations of the Handschu decree.  (The settlement was part of a “joint settlement process” with plaintiffs in Raza v. City of New York, filed by members of the Muslim community in June 2013 concerning the NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program.)

The January 2016 settlement strengthened the “Modified Handschu Guidelines”, adopted when the federal court relaxed a longstanding decree in 2003 following the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center.  On October 28, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight rejected the settlement, indicating he would approve it if the NYPD agreed to strengthen certain oversight provisions of the settlement.

New York Times article on the filing:

The March 6, 2017 filing:

The U.S. District Court’s October 28, 2016 opinion:

The Associated Press on the NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program:

Barbara Handschu, one of the class plaintiffs, is a longtime social justice lawyer who was active in the criminal defense of the Attica Brothers, and is a past national Vice President of the NLG.  Three of five counsel to the Handschu class are former NYC-NLG chapter presidents, Martin Stolar, Jethro Eisenstein and Franklin Siegel.  Class counsel also include NYU Law professor Paul Chevigny and NYCLU Legal Director Arthur Eisenberg.

#LawStrikesBack on F17

By Executive Director, February 13, 2017 3:47 pm

25 Legal Organizations to Hold #LawStrikesBack Actions at Courthouses Nationwide During F17 General Strike


February 13, 2017

Contact: Tasha Moro, NLG Communications Director
212-679-5100, ext. 15 |

NEW YORK—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is organizing a day of action for the legal community to express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda. On February 17 at 1 PM EST, lawyers, legal workers, law students, and law professors will gather in front of courthouses across the country in coordination with the nationwide #GeneralStrike planned for the same day.

“We are facing unprecedented attacks on our most fundamental human rights and are seeing the unfolding of authoritarianism before our eyes. The legal community has no choice but to show up, to defend our communities and to fight back by holding our institutions accountable,” said NLG President and LatinoJustice PRLDEF Associate Counsel Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan.

In the three weeks since Donald Trump has taken office, we have seen a flurry of executive orders targeting immigrants and intensifying law enforcement; racist, unqualified millionaires appointed to the nation’s highest positions; assaults on the press, and “alternative facts” presented as truth. However, we have also witnessed communities engaging in profound organizing and direct action—from the streets to airports and schools—to reject the current administration and disrupt business as usual. On February 17, we’re taking the resistance to courthouses.

“It is crucial for the legal community to come together to provide support for resistance movements against the current administration. We must fight back against the legitimization of racial and religious bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny that violate the core principles of democracy,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi.

A total of 25 legal organizations are participating in the event as cosponsors, representing diverse fields including immigration, racial justice, mass incarceration, LGBTQIA rights, and civil liberties and human rights. Thus far, #LawStrikesBack actions have been planned at courthouses in 10 cities, with more expected in additional locations. Check our website or Facebook event for an updated list of co-sponsors and local events throughout the week.

If your legal organization would like to co-sponsor, email NLG Research and Education Director Traci Yoder at

#LawStrikesBack Local Actions
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Detroit, MI
Harrisburg, PA
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA
Providence, RI
St. Louis, MO
Tucson, AZ

#LawStrikesBack Sponsors
National Lawyers Guild
Abolitionist Law Center
Black and Pink
Black Movement Law Project
Center for Constitutional Rights
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Defending Dissent Foundation/Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Human Rights Defense Center
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Law at the Margins
National Conference of Black Lawyers- Michigan Chapter
National Conference of Black Lawyers- NYC Chapter
National Immigration Project
National Jericho Movement
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
Palestine Legal
People’s Law Office
Sugar Law Center for Social and Economic Justice
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
TGI Justice Project (TGIJP)
UAW Local 2325-Assoc. of Legal Aid Attorneys
Water Protector Legal Collective
Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center


NLG-NYC Attorneys to Argue in Federal Court in lawsuit over NYPD uses of LRAD sound cannons against protesters 1/26/17

By Executive Director, January 25, 2017 4:43 pm



WHAT: Oral arguments in Federal Court before Hon. Robert W. Sweet in lawsuit over NYPD uses of LRAD sound cannons against protesters

WHEN: 1/26/17 at 12:00pm

WHERE: US District Court – 500 Pearl Street, NY, NY – Courtroom – 18C

CONTACT: Gideon Orion Oliver,, 646-263-3495

On December 5, 2014, the six Plaintiffs in Edrei, et al. v. City of New York, et al. were participating in or observing and documenting Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality in the wake of a December 2014 Staten Island Grand Jury’s decision not to indict New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officer Daniel Panteleo in the death of Eric Garner, and police response to those protests, when NYPD officers injured Plaintiffs byfiring the so-called “deterrent” pain compliance/area denial tone of a military-grade LRAD sound weapon at them repeatedly, from an unsafe distance, at an unsafe volume.

When lawyers for the Plaintiffs associated with the National Lawyers Guild – NYC Chapter  demanded that the NYPD refrain from using the LRAD for crowd control purposes without first conducting thorough, independent testing, and developing appropriate written and public guidelines for LRAD-related training, use, reporting, and oversight requirements, the NYPD said that the LRAD had been used appropriately, and refused to take any of the steps demanded.

In March of 2016, the Edrei Plaintiffs filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in US District Court for the Southern District of NY, challenging the NYPD’s LRAD use policies and practices as violating the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the NY State Constitution, and on other grounds, and seeking to enjoin the NYPDfrom using LRADs for crowd control purposes unless the NYPD designs and implements appropriate LRAD-related policy changes, as well as damages and attorney’s fees.

In moving to dismiss the case, the City of New York and NYPD have argued, among other things, that LRAD uses are not uses of force that can cause injury within the scope of Fourth Amendment protections because sound is “not a substance but a physical phenomenon, such as light or gravity”; that LRAD uses cannot constitute seizures within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment because they do not render a person unable to leave the area; and because the LRAD uses at issue were, according to Defendants, objectively reasonable.

In December, Plaintiffs filed the attached and other opposition papers, arguing, among other things, that sound is a physical phenomenon and that the LRAD exerts force (for example, on eardrums) by emitting soundwaves, causing molecules to vibrate, and as suchLRAD uses are uses of force that can cause injury (and did injure Plaintiffs); that LRAD uses for area denial/pain compliance purposes are seizures within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which restrict peoples’ freedom to remain in a particular area and force them to flee or otherwise relocate on threat of pain and/or injury; that the LRAD uses against Plaintiffs violated their First Amendment-protected rights to assemble and to gather and disseminate information (among other rights); and that the City and NYPD’s policies and practices regarding LRAD uses led to Plaintiffs’ injuries and were likely to cause Plaintiffs and others similarly situated injuries in the future unless the City and NYPD conduct appropriate LRAD-related testing and develop appropriate LRAD-related training, use, reporting and oversight requirements.

Tomorrow, 1/26/17, at 12:00pm, in Courtroom 18C at the US District Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street in NY, NY, Hon. Robert W. Sweet will hear oral argument on the City’s and NYPD’s motion to dismiss the case.

Members of the public and the press are invited and encouraged to attend.

Other relevant papers filed in the case can be found here: (Link to expire 2/1/17).



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