Kass' civil rights lawsuit—which alleges false arrest, malicious prosecution, assault, and battery—comes amid drastically increased scrutiny of NYPD tactics toward protesters, accused quality-of-life offenders, and minorities.
Added Kass: "I bet that if I were a younger person, or if I were a person of color, they would have been even more aggressive or violent. I didn't say those things, but I certainly thought them."
Celli said that their goal with the suit is to educate police officers about protesters' and observers rights.
"Unfortunately, cases like this arise with depressing regularity," Celli said. "It seems that in New York, sometimes police don't understand that sidewalks and public spaces are for more than transportation, but are places where people engage. When they don't understand that, people get arrested, and that's what happened to Stephen Kass."'
The New York City Law Department commented to Newsweek that: "We are reviewing the lawsuit."