Lawyers recently announced the largest settlement with New York City yet, with the city paying out $583,024 to 14 protesters who were arrested for disorderly conduct on January 1, 2012.
A senior NY Police Department official who was present during the arrests was unable to point out in videos of the event a single moment when any of the defendants committed any act of disorderly conduct.
"This was a constitutionally unlawful order given to the police," said Wylie Stecklow, a lawyer for the protesters, at a recent press conference at City Hall.
By the time their cases made it to prosecutors, the district attorney's office did not think there were grounds to prosecute, so the charges were dropped.
Three people who were apparently arrested because police thought they might have been thinking of attending a protest later were paid $50,000.
"The mass arrest of nonviolent protesters has no place in any democracy," said one of the attorneys. "Arresting nonviolent protesters helps to protect the true wrongdoers who are the oligarch, politicians and institutions that have corrupted our economic and political life. The NYPD pursued a policy of arresting thousands of people who were doing nothing wrong."