Two members of 2020 Mott Haven protest reflect on years leading up to settlement
Last week, it was announced that the city would be paying settlements to those who were part of the 2020 protest in Mott Haven where police boxed in hundreds of protesters.
Samira and Amali Sierra were at the protest on June 4, 2020, with hundreds of fellow New Yorkers following the killing of George Floyd. Their night took an unexpected turn for the worst.
“This is not in any case a scenario that should occur to anyone,” said Samira. “Especially by the hands of an institution that was built to protect the community.”
Samira and Amali were two of the hundreds surrounded by officers who say they accused demonstrators of violating their 8 p.m. curfew.
The sisters say that as they saw the situation unfold, they knew they would be taking legal action against the city.
“I know I was zip-tied and sat on this floor for hours,” said Amali. “What was happening was unconstitutional and wrong.
Samira and Amali were two of five people who sued the city for what took place on that night. Now, the city is offering to end the suit with a settlement.
Each plaintiff and every single person at that protest will be eligible to receive more than $20,000.
For the Sierra sisters, the road to reach this point was long, winding, and tiring. But for them, the pursuit of justice was far too important.
“For me, what it is, is justice for Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Ronald Johnson,” said Samira. “How you show up in the time of need of people in our communities is reflective of the communities that we build and the futures that we have.”
Before the settlement is paid out, the court needs to accept it. That decision is still pending.