Federal appeals panel: LRADs can be considered excessive force

A federal appeals panel ruled Wednesday that cops' use of Long Range Acoustic Devices against protesters can be considered excessive force


By Victoria Bekiempis
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A federal appeals panel ruled Wednesday that cops' use of noise cannons against peaceful protesters can be considered excessive force.

Three judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued their decision in Manhattan Federal Court case over the use of sound cannons at a December 2014 protest.

New York City Police Sgt. Janet Jordan gives orders using a Long Range Acoustic Device during a training drill in preparation for the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug, 19, 2004 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New York City Police Sgt. Janet Jordan gives orders using a Long Range Acoustic Device during a training drill in preparation for the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug, 19, 2004 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Six people attending that protest, which developed after a grand jury decided not to indict any police officers in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, claim NYPD cops wrongly blasted them with Long Range Acoustic Devices, or LRADs.

The attendees, represented by lawyers Gideon Orion Oliver, Elena L. Cohen and Michael Decker, alleged they endured pain and migraines from the sound blast.

"In a narrow ruling, we hold that purposefully using a LRAD in a manner capable of causing serious injury to move non-violent protesters to the sidewalks violates the Fourteenth Amendment under clearly established law," the decision said.

The Second Circuit panel also rejected two cops' push for immunity from the lawsuit, claiming they weren't informed that nonviolent protesters were protected from excessive force.

"In their view, because this Court has not applied 'substantive due process principles to crowd control,' the officers lacked notice that the right against excessive force applies to nonviolent protesters," the decision said. "But that is like saying police officers who run over people crossing the street illegally can claim immunity simply because we have never addressed a (constitutional) claim involving jaywalkers."

"This would convert the fair notice requirement into a presumption against the existence of basic constitutional rights," the ruling also stated.

Asked for comment on the ruling, the city Law Department said "We are reviewing the decision."

©2018 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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