Hearings continue in protesters case

In the ongoing case of protesters being held under arrest too long during the Republican National Convention, last week the city turned over a list of protesters who were held past the 6 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 2 release deadline that had been set by acting State Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo.

Speaking to reporters after a hearing in the case last week, Michael Cardozo, the city’s corporation counsel, said the city had been overwhelmed by the number of arrests, including 1,200 in four hours on Aug. 31. Slowing down the processing of the arrestees, Cardozo claimed, “The Internet had told protesters to load up their backpacks with as much stuff as possible.” Also the volume of fingerprints being sent to Albany was huge, so getting the fingerprints sent back to the city was slower than usual, he said. “We were faced with extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

The arrests could be the basis for a class-action lawsuit.

However, Cardozo asked, “Who is it that is actually suing us? We don’t actually know the answer to that question.”

Set to represent the protesters is veteran civil rights attorney Norman Siegel.

Said Siegel, “Keeping people under arrest too long is unconstitutional. There were people that were held almost two days. That is unacceptable.”

In New York State, people who are arrested must be arraigned on their charges within 24 hours.

The next court date in the case is Sept. 27.