Bandele v. City of New York Historic Case

At a Glance

Current Status 

The case was settled in September 2008.

Date Filed: 

April 26, 2007

Client 

 Lumumba Bandele, Djibril Toure, and David Floyd - members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM)

Case Description 

Bandele v. City of New York was a federal civil rights lawsuit brought against the City of New York and three NYPD officers in 2007. It charges that the defendants falsely arrested and imprisoned the three plaintiffs, violating their constitutional rights. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The three plaintiffs - Lumumba Bandele, Djibril Toure, and David Floyd - were members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), a community-based organization in Brooklyn that seeks to politically empower the Black community. The suit charged defendants with violating the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments by unlawfully denying plaintiffs’ right to assemble lawfully and observe and document police conduct in a public forum. The suit charged that the NYPD subjected the three activists to false arrest, illegal excessive force, malicious prosecution, and deprivation of liberty without due process of law. It sought a declaration that the defendants’ conduct was unconstitutional and also injunctions requiring the deletion of plaintiffs’ unlawful arrest records and enjoining the NYPD from unlawfully disrupting or preventing lawful First Amendment activity. The plaintiffs also sought compensatory and punitive damages.

On the evening of February 9, 2005, plaintiffs were participating in MXGM's CopWatch, a program modeled after police accountability activities of the Black Panthers that seeks to expose, document, and deter instances of police misconduct and abuse in the Black community by peacefully patrolling neighborhoods where police misconduct and violence are rampant. The plaintiffs, upon observing several patrol cars and police officers arresting two people near the intersection of Greene Street and Throop Avenue, began to videotape the scene, remaining at all times at a lawful distance from the officers. Officer Thomas Stevens approached the three and ordered them to leave the area. Mr. Bandele, Mr. Toure, and Mr. Floyd complied with the request and backed away from the scene. Officer Stevens then pushed Mr. Bandele and Mr. Floyd, knocking the camera and Mr. Floyd to the ground. The three were then arrested and placed in custody. Recovered videotape of the scene leading up to the arrests shows the men doing nothing to provoke the officers.

Mr. Toure was charged with assault in the third degree, and all three were charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration, even though they did nothing illegal and did not resist arrest in any way, which recovered video evidence corroborates. On July 17, 2006, all criminal charges against the three were dismissed by order of the Kings County District Attorney due to Officer Stevens' failure to cooperate with the District Attorney's office.

CCR, along with co-counsel Robert Boyle, filed suit on behalf of the plaintiffs on April 26, 2007.

The lawsuit was settled in September 2008.

Case Timeline

September 22, 2008

Settlement of case

September 22, 2008

Settlement of case

Settlement of case, charges against defendants dismissed.

April 26, 2007
CCR filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
April 26, 2007
CCR filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
February 9, 2005

MXGM Copwatch members arrested for monitoring NYPD activity

February 9, 2005

MXGM Copwatch members arrested for monitoring NYPD activity