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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Police abuse cost taxpayers Millions of Dollars

by Stansfield Smith

 
The US court system has found criminal police conduct (beatings, false arrests, other violence and felonies) at anti-war/anti-G8/FTAA/WTO protests to be so flagrant that payouts to the victims of police illegality and violence have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

The payouts for unprovoked police violence and illegality, below, do not include what cities have paid their own lawyers to defend the police in court.  These payouts do not include cases that are still in litigation, such as the class action suit of some 800 Chicagoans arrested for demonstrating against the start of the war on Iraq in 2003.  Some examples:

Seattle paid $1 million to WTO protesters, cleared their arrest records seven years later, and paid another $800,000 to settle police misconduct cases.

Miami paid out $561,000, $180,000, and $17,000 because of the particularly ugly police violence during the protests against the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting.

Los Angeles paid over $5 million as a result of 11 lawsuits stemming from police conduct during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

The Los Angeles City Council agreed to pay $12.85 million to demonstrators and bystanders attacked by police at a 2007 May Day rally.

Washington DC paid $22 million in compensation to 1,000 protesters and bystanders for police mistreatment at two rallies in 2000 and 2002.  These involved a $13.7 million settlement following the 2000 IMF/World Bank protests.  Protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 2002 resulted in various lawsuits, netting $8.25 million, $1 million, and $200,000 for wrongful arrests.  A 2002 detention of eight anti-war protesters also resulted in a settlement of $450,000.

Oakland paid over $2 million for injuries to 58 people from police dowels, bean bags, and rubber pellets during an April 7, 2003 protest against Iraq.

New York City paid out $6.6 million in attorneys' fees and $1.5 million in settlements after the 2004 Republican convention.  As typical of police violations of the law in these cases, of the 1,670 cases, over 90 percent ended with the charges dismissed or acquittals.

In 2008, New York City paid $2.7 million to end a lawsuit by 52 people caught in mass arrests during an April 7, 2003 protest against the Iraq war.  The $2 million was only part of the bonfire of legal expenses, including the city's five lawyers and appellate teams.

Minneapolis has paid out  $175,000 out so far to victims of police violence and illegal behavior at the 2008 Republican National Committee protests. FULL STORY


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