The city will pay out an $82,500 settlement to an Occupy Wall Street activist who claims police beat him up and arrested him three times – the last instance booking him on a years-old public urination warrant for someone else, the Daily News has learned.
Shawn Schrader, 24, said the beatdowns left him with a bleeding ear, a hurt thumb and nightmares about cops.
“I settled my lawsuit because the police lawyers made it clear they would fight me tooth and nail on every claim,” Schrader told The News. All charges against Schrader stemming from the three arrests were dropped.
In the final arrest, on May 2012, Schrader claims intelligence officers used the urination warrant as a bogus excuse to suppress his free speech, interrogate him and throw a monkey wrench in the May Day protests he was helping to coordinate.
Schrader, of Manhattan, had been using the name Shawn Carrie as his pseudonym on Twitter and while working for the Occupy movement, and the 2007 warrant was for another individual with that name. He said he showed the cops an ID with his real name when they collared him.
Police officers stand around a cuffed protester after the May Day protests. SETH WENIG/AP
Schrader’s lawyer Jeffrey Rothman noted that cops almost never seek out and arrest people on old public urination warrants, adding that the case “illustrates starkly the NYPD’s brutal response to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the continuing malfeasance of its Intelligence Division in the suppression of protected First Amendment activity.”
In an earlier arrest that started in Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012, cops stomped and choked him, Schrader said in his March 2013 lawsuit.
He said an officer made his ear bleed, and growled, “Are you Occupy Wall Street people going to come back and demonstrate? Are you punks going to come back and keep showing up? Because every time you guys come back we’re going to kick your asses.”
The city admits no guilt in the Dec. 4 settlement. Before settling, the city claimed that there was probable cause for Schrader’s arrest, detention and prosecution.
Rothman said mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, need to clean up the Intelligence division.
“It is greatly hoped that the new administration will move decisively away from the pervasively unconstitutional policies and practices of (Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly),” Rothman said.
Schrader, who at the time of his arrests had a scholarship to study classical piano at New York University, said his dust-ups with the NYPD “shattered my life” and caused him to drop out. “I’ll never play Beethoven again,” he said.
He now studies politics at The New School.
Schrader said he still has nightmares about the NYPD.
“I have visceral flashbacks of my head being repeatedly stomped on,” he said. “If people have a problem with the fact that $82,500 of their tax money is going to clean up the NYPD’s mess, they have a right to be.”
City lawyer Muriel Goode-Trufant said, “Settlement was in the city’s best interest.”