Judge Disagrees With NYPD Claims Its LRAD Sound Cannon Isn’t A Weapon


A judge has ruled that a lawsuit against the NYPD for officers’ use of a Long Range Acoustic Device sound cannon at a Black Lives Matter protest can proceed, because “sound can be used as a force.”

The city had sought to get the federal lawsuit thrown out in part on the basis that “the LRAD is not an instrumentality of force, but a communication device,” and that “the officers’ creation of a sound that plaintiffs happened to hear cannot be considered ‘physical contact.'”

The lawsuit stems from a demonstration in Midtown in December 2014 in response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, one of several cops who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island. The evening protest bled into early the next morning, and around 1 a.m. at East 57th Street and Madison Avenue, marchers were gathered in the street, and some in the crowd were throwing bottles and garbage at police when two officers with the NYPD Disorder Control Unit activated the LRAD.

“You must remain on the sidewalk. You must not interfere with vehicular traffic,” one officer repeats into the microphone as the other holds the portable sound device, occasionally activating its “deterrent tone” and pointing it at people on the sidewalk. “If you do, you will be placed into custody.”

One clip shows the officers use the sound blast more than a dozen times in 2 1/2 minutes.

The plaintiffs, two photojournalists, three protesters, and a videographer, say they experienced migraines and severe ringing in their ears in the immediate aftermath of the protest. Three reported experiencing continued ringing in their ears as of last August, and a fourth suffered nerve damage in his ear as a result of the blasts, according to the suit.

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  • James Michael

    Well good, let’s fire it at that traitor in a black robe….and the felons that used the weapon on people exercising a right…