NEW YORK - Protesters and onlookers arrested during the Republican National Convention sued New York City on Thursday and said police had violated their free speech and other constitutional rights.
At least two suits filed in Manhattan federal court said police detained more than 1,800 people during the convention, many of whom were not involved in illegal activity or who were not even demonstrators. Both suits were filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The cases seek unspecified damages and a court ruling finding police mass arrest tactics unlawful so they will not be used at future demonstrations. The plaintiffs said one method used by police involved trapping large groups of people on the sidewalk with mesh nets.
Among plaintiffs is a dance teacher who was arrested while she was walking to work near a demonstration in the Union Square area of Manhattan. The suit charges she fainted and went into convulsions during the time of her confinement.
The suits were filed one day after the Manhattan district attorney's office said it would not prosecute cases against 227 protesters who were arrested on Aug. 31 during one of the most disputed demonstrations of the convention. Prosecutors said it would be difficult to prove the protesters had deliberately defied orders.
The convention was held Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The city had no immediate comment on the suits.
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