The Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union are suing Mayor Bill de Blasio and several top NYPD leaders, accusing them of coordinating a "de facto policy" of indiscriminate police violence against large-scale protests this past summer.

The federal civil rights action concerns 11 plaintiffs who were allegedly beaten by NYPD officers during the wave of protests in late May and June following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The complaint alleges de Blasio and the NYPD brass encouraged the NYPD's brutal month-long crackdown, which violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights of protesters.

“This is not the story of bad apples. This was a deliberately violent response to these protests," Corey Stoughton, the head of special litigation at the Legal Aid Society, told Gothamist. "It was a response that was endorsed and encouraged by the mayor and police commissioner.”

On numerous nights throughout the height of the protests, police used a tactic known as "kettling" to encircle peaceful demonstrators, before charging participants with batons, pepper-spray, bikes, and fists. Several demonstrators report being handcuffed with excessively tight zip ties, leading to longterm nerve damage in some cases.

Despite near-nightly reports and videos of police brutality, de Blasio, along with his police commissioner Dermot Shea and Chief of Department Terence Monahan, "deliberately did not take steps to prevent police from using those tactics again and again. Instead, they repeatedly praised the actions of the NYPD, promoting, authorizing, sanctioning and encouraging further violence," the complaint alleges.

Jarrett Payne, a plaintiff in the suit, said he was protesting near Trump Tower on June 2nd when multiple police officers surrounded and beat him, moments after de Blasio's curfew took effect.

"I got blindsided from behind and all of a sudden there's seven white officers beating me with batons," Payne, a 34-year-old Queens resident, recalled. "I look down and see my face mask and protest sign is covered in blood."

Payne was then transported to Central Booking in Brooklyn, where he said protesters were crammed into overstuffed cells and taunted by unmasked cops. He recalled one of the officers telling them: "You got what was coming to you."

The NYPD's response to the Floyd protests has prompted widespread censure, including scathing investigations from Human Rights Watch and the Physicians for Human Rights, and an ongoing probe by the New York Attorney General Tish James. More than 300 people have filed notices of claim signaling their intent to sue the city and police department in connection the protests. A single NYPD crackdown in Mott Haven, on June 4th, is expected to cost taxpayers several million dollars in misconduct suits.

De Blasio, who ran on a platform of police reform, has stood by Commissioner Shea in the months after the protests, refusing to denounce even the most egregious assaults on peaceful protesters, legal observers, medics and bystanders.

Instead, the mayor has said he will reserve judgement until the release of a "joint review" of police actions from the Department of Investigation and Law Department. That report is nearly two months late.

Asked about the suit on Monday, de Blasio said he couldn’t discuss ongoing litigation, but referenced a “current strategy to change relations between police and people.” Black Lives Matter activists have described the mayor’s commission on police reform as a “farce” and a media stunt.

Longtime civil rights attorneys and police accountability experts said that even when compared to the violent crackdowns at the 2004 Republican National Committee protests or Occupy Wall Street, the NYPD's show of force against peaceful demonstrators earlier this year was without modern precedent.

"This was personal for the police. This wasn’t against [George W.] Bush or bankers, but against police themselves," said Stoughton. "The scale and pervasiveness of the violent response — we've never seen that before."

The NYPD said it would review the suit.