oakland pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle two more lawsuits by protesters

by Tim Phillips

In June, Oakland and Alameda County 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. In July, the Oakland City Council agreed to pay $1.17 million to settle another lawsuit filed by a dozen Occupy Oakland protesters who were subjected to excessive force by police in October and November 2011. Yesterday the Oakland City Council agreed to pay more than $693,000 to settle two additional lawsuits filed by Occupy Oakland protesters, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article:

In the first case, Army veteran Kayvan Sabeghi will receive $645,000 to resolve a lawsuit he filed against the city in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging that he was clubbed by Oakland police during an Occupy protest on Nov. 2, 2011. … Sabeghi underwent surgery for a lacerated spleen. … In a second case, the council agreed to pay $48,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by Robert Ovetz, a college instructor and activist from Marin County who said he was thrown to the ground and struck twice by a police baton during an Occupy protest in Oakland on Jan. 28, 2012.

Video footage of the second incident showed that Ovetz was not resisting when officer Ercivan Martin hit him in the abdomen and back with a baton. Ovetz was jailed for three days for, among other allegations, assaulting an officer. Alameda County prosecutors dismissed the criminal case against him.