A mother who sued New York alleging wrongful arrest during the Occupation Wall Street movement found a deaf ear in a Manhattan Federal Court recently. After deliberating for only 40 minutes the jury rejected the claim of Stacey Hessler that she was treated roughly during an arrest by officers of the NYPD in 2011.
Kessler had come to New York specifically to participate in the movement that originated near the financial center of the city. She claimed that she was protesting properly and following the instructions of the officers involved. However, she says she was arrested without cause, with one officer pulling her by her hair.
The jury had the advantage of being able to view a video of the arrest, which the city’s legal team claims showed a different story. According to those attorneys, Kessler was blocking traffic and interfering with the officers involved. They contended that the woman was properly arrested and had, in fact, resisted a lawful arrest.
Representing the city as one of its attorneys, Andrew Lucas pointed out the many decisions officers were required to make during those demonstrations. He indicated, “Officers were faced with balancing the rights of protesters with the rights of people who live and work in the neighborhood. The jury’s quick deliberation showed that they understood and agreed with what the officers did that day.”
The finding of the jury left Kessler with no financial award for her troubles. She had claimed a long list of negative consequences from her alleged brutal illegal arrest. Included in these were “panic attacks, mental anguish and unwarranted severe anger bouts.” Additionally, Kessler had problems at home after she returned from New York, blaming the arrest for a severe strain that caused breakdowns in her personal relationships in and out of her home.
This case had a different conclusion than that of six other Occupy protestors settled recently. These six received a total of $332,500 in a settlement that ended their litigation. According to Law Department spokesperson Nicolas Paolucci, “Settling was in the city’s best interest.”