$6.2 Million Settlement for Protesters Arrested at 2003 Iraq War Demonstration

Lawyers reached a $6.2 million settlement for more than 800 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit targeting the mass arrest of protesters during a 2003 demonstration against the Iraq war. Payouts will be introduced to the City Council in June. 

From the Chicago Tribune:

The city's defense in the case was weakened last year when federal appellate Justice Richard Posner ruled the arrests were unjustified because police allowed the massive demonstration to take place without a permit, but then decided to arrest people for participating without giving them a clear order that it was time to disperse.

Hundreds of people became trapped by police at Chicago and Michigan avenues. Confused demonstrators who said they just wanted to go home were instead arrested and held overnight. All of the arrest charges were later dismissed in court, Posner noted.

People who were arrested, charged and detained would receive payouts of up to $15,000 under the proposed settlement and those arrested but not charged would receive payments of up to $8,750. Those where detained at the scene but not arrested may get up to $500, said Joey Mogul, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs.

The Tribune also said:

The issues in the case played a role in city officials' examination of how they handle large demonstrations in the months leading up to the G-8 and NATO summits, which could attract tens of thousands of demonstrators to the city in May.

Indeed, Chicago is likely to be the site of what could be the largest Occupy demonstrations yet.  

AlterNet / By Staff

Posted at February 10, 2012, 7:43am

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