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NYLAG Sues Department of Homeland Security to Obtain Critical Documents About Black Lives Matter Protests

New York Legal Assistance Group v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security​

The killing of George Floyd in May 2020 sparked protests against police brutality across the country, including in New York City. In June 2020, a protestor was violently arrested while participating in a protest on the Upper West Side of New York City. The officer who made the arrest was identified as an agent for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Homeland Security Investigations, an operational directorate within ICE.

The deployment of federal immigration enforcement agents in New York City raised several serious concerns, including whether the federal government has the authority to deploy federal agents to monitor local protests and the surveillance of immigrant protestors by federal agents. In light of these concerns, and as part of NYLAG’s efforts to ensure free speech regardless of one’s racial or ethnic identity, on September 29, 2020, NYLAG submitted a request to DHS and ICE under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA request sought critical records related to the deployment of federal law enforcement personnel in New York City between May 25, 2020 and September 29, 2020.

Despite repeated efforts by NYLAG and the passage of nearly two years, DHS and its components failed to provide a single responsive document. On July 12, 2022, NYLAG filed suit, represented by internal NYLAG lawyers and the law firm Cooley LLP, acting pro bono, to compel production of the documents.  

More Information:

Name: New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Dkt. #: 22 Civ. 05928 (S.D.N.Y.)

Judge: Hon. Alvin Hellerstein

Status: Active litigation


Violations of Freedom of Information Act 


  • NYLAG files suit to protect rights of free speech and immigrant protesters

Key Documents:

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