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Journalist Arrested Covering Protest Pursuing Failure to Train Claim Settles and Dismisses

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 24 – Journalist Michael Nigro was arrested while covering a demonstration in New York City on March 19, 2016. He sued.  

  On January 14, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jesse M. Furman held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

The case was filed in March 2019. Judge Furman said the parts of it that remain about about "failure to train." 2020 WL 5503539.

 The complaint states that "this false arrest would never have occurred but for the decision made by the City of New York to not properly train NYPD officers on the First Amendment rights of media." 

Depositions are - or were - due by September 10.

On June 18 - Juneteenth, observed, with most of the SDNY closed - into the docket at 8 pm was a proposed order for the unsealing of the records of arrests of two non-party individuals who were arrested during [sic] on or about March 19, 2106 [sic] at the protest at issue."

An accompanying letter says the records - which it says only the parties and not the press or public - are sought in order to support plaintiff's claims including his allegations of retaliatory arrest and his claim that Defendant has failed to train NYPD officers with regard to the First Amendment rights of member of the media covering protests and other police activity."

On September 14, 2021 Judge Furman held another proceeding, in the run up to a September 20 settlement conference before the assigned Magistrate Judge, Stewart D. Aaron. There are disputes about discovery, Devenpeck data and the whereabouts of former NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Now on September 24, a notice about settlement, but without the basis: "ORDER OF DISMISSAL: The Court having been advised by Magistrate Judge Aaron that all claims asserted herein have been settled, it is ORDERED that the above-entitled action be and is hereby DISMISSED and discontinued without costs, and without prejudice to the right to reopen the action within sixty days of the date of this Order if the settlement is not consummated. To be clear, any application to reopen must be filed by the aforementioned deadline; any application to reopen filed thereafter may be denied solely on that basis. Further, requests to extend the deadline to reopen are unlikely to be granted. If the parties wish for the Court to retain jurisdiction for the purposes of enforcing any settlement agreement, they must submit the settlement agreement to the Court by the deadline to reopen to be "so ordered" by the Court. Per Paragraph 4(B) of the Court's Individual Rules and Practices for Civil Cases, unless the Court orders otherwise, the Court will not retain jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement unless it is made part of the public record. Any pending motions are moot. All conferences are canceled. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Jesse M. Furman on 9/24/2021)." So, on what basis?

Inner City Press, with its own journalistic experience with untrained / unlawful security in New York City (albeit in international territory) hopes to cover this case more closely.

The case is Nigro v. City Of New York et al., 19-cv-2369 (Furman)


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