The New York State attorney general on Thursday sued the New York City Police Department in Manhattan for widespread abuses in how the department handled Black Live Matters protests in the summer. It marks the first time that a state attorney general has sued a police department.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sought a court-appointed monitor to oversee how the NYPD handles future protests. James also wants a court order to declare that the NYPD's policies and practices were unlawful.

In court documents, James noted the NYPD has had a “pattern of excessive, brutal, and unlawful force against peaceful protesters.” During a virtual press conference, James revealed she has found 155 incidents in which officers used excessive force on protestors.

The lawsuit accuses New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea of failing “to prevent and address the pattern or practice of excessive force and false arrests by officers against peaceful protesters in violation of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

James’ lawsuit comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo demanded answers following peaceful protests in May that turned violent.

James also looked into complaints from the December protests. Both investigations revealed officers made mass arrests without probable cause.

James revealed officers, who were not trained to deal with mass protests, were sent out with no guidance on how to respond to the demonstrations.

The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of the City of New York appeared to share the same sentiment when addressing the lawsuit.

“They sent cops out to police unprecedented protests and violent riots with no plan, no strategy, and no support,” Patrick J. Lynch, President of the PBA, said in a statement.

James received “more than 1,300 complaints and pieces of evidence” about how the NYPD mishandled the protests.

NYPD police officers watch demonstrators in Times Square on June 1 during a Black Lives Matter protest
NYPD police officers watch demonstrators in Times Square on June 1 during a Black Lives Matter protest AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY