New York City, NY - Federal Judge Robert Sweet ruled on Wednesday, May 31, that the use of NYPD's Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) on December 5, 2014, in a protest after Eric Garner's death may be considered a form of excessive force.
According to Fox News, the lawsuit was filed by six people who claimed they had "migraines, sinus pain, dizziness, facial pressure, and ringing in their ears" after the NYPD used the devices, referred to as "sound cannons" during the 2014 Black Lives Matter-led riots, where 300 people were arrested just on December 4 and 5, 2014.
Judge Sweet said that there is "a cognizable claim" that the plaintiffs' constitutional rights may have been violated by the use of excessive force.
LRAD product information said that sound can travel up to 1800 feet from the device, which also has a 'deterrent' function that emits an ongoing series of 'beeps' to disperse crowds.
The 'deterrent' function was used at these riots/protests reportedly less than 10 feet away from those involved, according to the lawsuit.
You can see video of the device in use here:
In his ruling, Judge Sweet said, “The protest involved large numbers of people and so it is understandable that the officers would want to increase the volume of their message to reach the largest number. However, the allegations and video (of the protest) make the protest appear broadly in control, even when glass bottles were thrown from the crowd toward the police."
LRADS have been used by the NYPD for years, according to The New York Times. The NYPD has used them to issue commands in an 'extra-loud voice', with the speaker often carried on an officer's shoulder.
Judge Sweet also said, "the use of the device as a projector of powerfully amplified sound is no different than other tools in law enforcement’s arsenal that have the potential to be used either safely or harmfully, one example being distraction devices — items like stun grenade, flash bang, or concussion grenades."
Do you think that this lawsuit has any merit? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.