A federal judge has ruled that the city of Oakland and Alameda County must pay a combined $1.36 million to 360 Occupy Oakland protesters who were jailed and held, en masse, for between 12 and 85 hours on January 28, 2012. Many Occupy Oakland demonstrators will receive $3,000 each.
The police arrested the group protesting outside the YMCA after they had fought with police in their attempt to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and turn it into a social service center where they could camp.
NBC News reported that after the group was arrested, roughly 50 other protesters broke into Oakland’s City Hall and “smashed glass display cases, spray-painted graffiti, and burned the U.S. and California flags.” Then-Mayor Jean Quan pointed out that the protesters inside City Hall ruined several art structures, including a recycled art exhibit made by children.
None of the protesters at the YMCA were charged with a crime. Attorney Yolanda Huang, representing the protesters, said, “OPD can’t arrest everybody in a crowd just because they don’t want (them) to march anymore. You can only arrest someone if you see that they are committing a crime. That is the premise of our law.”
CBS News reported that the Occupy group had stated it would try to take over the Convention Center as well as attempt to shut down the Port of Oakland, occupy the city’s airport, and take over City Hall.
The lawsuit was the last that the city of Oakland had to settle dealing with the Occupy movement. Oakland has now paid over $7 million to the Occupy movement in lawsuits alleging police misconduct.
The lawsuit alleged that the protesters, most of whom were held in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, suffered from cells that were cold and overcrowded, and were not given anything with which they could maintain personal hygiene.
Although $1.36 million will be paid if the Oakland City Council approves the settlement, most of the protesters will receive the basic $3,000 payment. Eight plaintiffs representing the group will be paid $9,000, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys will garner $350,000.