A Black Lives Matter activist is suing New York City police for $5 million after they beat him at a protest for Stephon Clark in March. A video showed five NYPD officers punching and wrestling Walter (Hawk) Newsome to the ground during a March 28 march, the New York Daily News reported.
Newsome, 41, was arrested, with cops having used a bicycle during the beating, he said.
“I’m screaming, and they’re celebrating,” the activist said to the Daily News. “It felt like 50 cops were on top of me. At one point, I was laying there with my arms in front of me — and they were still on top of me, pulling my shoulder back. They threw a bike down on top of me.”
Newsome, who suffered a torn rotator cuff, was also detained for nearly 24 hours before police charged him with obstructing government administration. Cops “illegally and without a proper warrant or cause falsely arrested and imprisoned” Newsome, he said in a notice of claim.
The incident calls attention to the misconduct that cops often get away with in encounters with people of color. Newsome, who said an officer pushed him with the bike several times before he was full-on beaten and put in handcuffs, spoke about the privilege that some officers display when dealing with African Americans.
“When I told him to stop pushing me, that’s when I was arrested,” said Newsome. “They have absolute power. They can arrest us whenever they want.”
Newsome has had previous issues with the NYPD: He filed a suit against the department after being arrested at a Washington Square Park rally last February. He faced up to a year on Rikers Island, but city prosecutors later dismissed all charges against him. Newsome also sued over that incident, and the case is ongoing.