Monday, April 02, 2007

WTO Protestors Awarded $1M Damages; Records Expunged and Sealed

A portion of the press release from Public Justice, the legal organization that pursued the case explains below. This case will hopefully have a chilling effect on police organizations around the country when they think about incarcerating numbers of peaceful protestors. I hadn't realized that some of the people picked up in the so-called "no protest zones" were jailed for as long as 4 days. From a Public Justice email: "As lead plaintiff Ken Hankin so aptly put it, "'The verdict and this settlement not only vindicate the rights of the people who peacefully and lawfully protested in 1999, but will help ensure that future dissent is treated as intended in a free society.'" Way to go Public Justice.

"SEATTLE – In a landmark settlement reached by Public Justice on behalf of scores of people arrested in 1999 while peacefully protesting the World Trade Organization, the City of Seattle has agreed to seal and expunge the records of what a jury earlier determined to be their unconstitutional arrests by Seattle police.

"In addition, the settlement mandates that the City improve police training in order to prevent unconstitutional mass arrests in the future. Finally, the City will pay $1 million to compensate the protesters for the violation of their constitutional rights and the costs of bringing the lawsuit.
Following an 11-day trial in January, a civil court jury found the City liable for violating the protesters’ Fourth Amendment rights. The verdict in Hankin v. City of Seattle and settlement followed seven years of litigation and determined work by the Public Justice legal team.

Link to pdf of document is here:

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