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N.Y. Firefighters Sue Over Protest

November 6, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Eight firefighters who were arrested in a protest last year over ground zero recovery efforts have sued the city and the New York Police Department.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday stems from an angry confrontation on Nov. 2, 2001, between firefighters and police officers assigned to patrol the area around the World Trade Center site. The firefighters were upset that the number of firefighters working to recover victims was being reduced.

More than a dozen firefighters were arrested in the protest for charges including criminal trespass and riot, although the charges were eventually dropped. The lawsuit filed by the eight alleges that police officers violated their rights and arrested them without cause. It seeks unspecified damages.

Police spokesman officer John Sullivan said the department does not comment on pending litigation, and city corporation counsel spokeswoman Kate O’Brien Ahlers said her office had not yet seen the filing.

Citing safety concerns, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had sought to limit the number of firefighters working at ground zero to 25, angering rank-and-file men traumatized by the loss of 343 colleagues in the Sept. 11 attacks. The city later backed down and increased the number.

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