Oakland Votes to Give Over $1 Million to Settle Occupy Lawsuit

The Oakland City Council voted to give over a million dollars in taxpayer money to settle a lawsuit brought by protesters who claimed to have been victims of police brutality during Occupy Oakland skirmishes in 2011. The resolution of Timothy Scott Campbell et al. vs. City of Oakland was a total amount of $1,170,000, which included attorney fees.

The largest settlement went to Suzi Spangenberg, an active Unitarian Universlist and social justice activist, who was awarded $500,000. Twelve plaintiffs claimed that allegations of excessive use of force by the Oakland Police Department caused a range of offenses, from false imprisonment to severe injury. Other plaintiffs received awards ranging between $20,000 and $210,000.

All eight council members approved the settlement, which was decided in a closed door session last month but announced at the City Council meeting on July 3rd. The website for the eight member Oakland City Council shows that the group of politiians includes "public interest and social justice advocate" Dan Kalb and "daughter of union parents " Lynette McElhaney.

The attorney from the National Lawyers Guild--the group founded by communists and progressives in 1937--was happy, telling the San Francisco Chronicle:

"We're very pleased with the result," said Rachel Lederman, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild in San Francisco, which represented the plaintiffs. "This is really a good decision by the city and the Police Department to take some responsibility for the fiasco of their ill-planned response to Occupy Oakland and to take responsibility by compensating some of the people who were the most seriously injured."

The events happened in October and November, 2011. The police were brought in to break up the Occupy Oakland encampment outside Oakland City Hall. As the Internatinal Business Journal reported at the time:

The Police authorities had broken up an encampment in front of City Hall earlier on Tuesday. Police said they intervened after a rape, a severe beating and a fire occurred in the camp. They cited “frequent instances of public urination and defecation” and “improper food storage” that aggravated the “rodent problem”.


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