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In the second big settlement with protesters announced in the past nine days, the city of Oakland will pay out $1.17 million to members of the Occupy movement for police misconduct, a term which euphemizes their actual behavior.
All of the plaintiffs, including Oakland videographer Scott Campbell, were struck either by beanbags or flash-bang grenades fired by officers during Occupy protests on Oct. 25, 2011 and Nov. 2, 2011, Lederman said. Settlements ranged from $20,000 to $500,000. The biggest settlements were awarded to women struck by the grenades, which use loud noise and bright explosions to disorient people.
Campbell, who will receive $150,000, made international headlines when an Oakland police officer shot him in the thigh in the early morning hours of Nov. 3 during a protest near City Hall.
In addition to the money, Oakland has agreed as part of negotiations over this settlement and another announced last week to reform its crowd control policy and give the federal government oversight for the next seven years.
Rachel Lederman, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild that brought both suits, was pleased the city had settled quickly and was taking steps to keep such incidents from happening again. But she warned that the proof will be in what the city does, not what it promises, "so it remains to be seen whether there will be compliance."
The catch is that Oakland negotiated a new crowd control policy back in 2005 as a result of having brutally treated Iraq war protesters. But in both the case of the Occupy protesters and the 150 so-called Oscar Grant protesters arrested in November 2010, the police didn't follow their own policy.
The Oscar Grant protest was sparked by a judge's decision to overturn a gun enhancement provision and hand down a two-year sentence for manslaughter to the Bay Area Transit police officer who shot Grant to death in 2009. Had the shooting not been videotaped, it probably would not have resulted in even that weak punishment.
In the ensuing protests after the sentencing, Oakland police carried out mass arrests and Alameda County sheriff's deputies mistreated the people being held. The $1.025 million settlement with both the city and the county for that misconduct was announced June 24.
These two settlements won't be the end. At least four more lawsuits have been filed against the city for police misconduct relating to Occupy protests in 2011 and 2012. In those a protester was nearly killed from being shot in the head and another viciously beaten.
jpmassar has a good discussion on the subject going on here.
Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:11 AM PDT.