oakland and alameda county pay millions to settle two lawsuits by protesters

by Tim Phillips

Yesterday the Oakland City Council agreed to pay $1.17 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a dozen Occupy Oakland protesters who were subjected to excessive force by police in October and November 2011. The settlement agreement also requires that police adhere to their crowd-control policy. According to yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle article,

The plaintiffs filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco over their treatment by police on Oct. 25, 2011, when officers clashed with protesters who tried to reoccupy a City Hall camp that officers had cleared earlier in the day. Also included in the suit were allegations that police had acted improperly after a general strike on Nov. 2, 2011, devolved into rioting and more confrontations with police early the next morning.

In addition, Oakland and Alameda County recently agreed to pay $1.025 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by 150 protesters who were arrested and detained on November 5, 2010 for demonstrating against the light sentence former BART officer Johannes Mehserle received after fatally shooting Oscar Grant. The settlement agreement also provides for court enforcement of the Oakland Police Department’s crowd-control policy, which was the result of earlier litigation by protesters, for up to seven years. Moreover, the Oakland Police Department and Alameda Sheriff agreed to implement expedited procedures for processing and releasing people arrested at protests.