Protesters to be awarded $1 million settlement in mass arrest lawsuit

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A scene from the Nov. 5, 2010 protest where OPD mass arrested 150 protesters in a residential neighborhood
PHOTO BY RAMSEY EL-QARE

A federal judge has granted preliminary approval for a settlement of more than $1 million to a group of 150 activists who were mass arrested in Oakland three years ago. The National Lawyers Guild filed the federal class action civil-rights suit on behalf of the protesters, who in some cases were held for more than 24 hours despite never facing formal charges.

The mass arrest took place on Nov. 5, 2010, when activists marched in opposition to the light sentence handed down to Johannes Mehserle, the former BART officer who was tried for murder after he shot and killed unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant.

After winding through the streets in downtown Oakland, protesters took a turn toward Fruitvale Station, where Grant was fatally shot. But instead, police in riot gear forced them into a residential neighborhood where they were kettled in and mass-arrested for unlawful assembly.

There’s a process for making mass arrests that is clearly laid out in OPD’s crowd control policy, “to comply with California law and the U.S. constitution. That would involve giving a warning, and then allowing people to disperse,” Rachel Lederman of the NLG points out. “This was a perfectly legal demonstration,” and with the exception of one or two individuals who vandalized bus windows during the march, the vast majority of protesters did not engage in illegal activity.

Instead of being cited and released, or simply allowed to disperse once police declared the march to be "unlawful," the 150 demonstrators who were penned in by police were sent through a long and uncomfortable booking process, Lederman said. They were left sitting on the street, then loaded onto buses and vans where they were made to wait, still handcuffed, for up to 6 hours in some cases. (Note: This reporter was kettled in along with protesters initially but then allowed to leave when police created an exit for members of the media. From there, all reporters were sent to an area cordoned off by police tape, where it was difficult to observe the arrests. So reporters were essentially given the choice between being sent to jail, which would have made it difficult to file a timely story, or being roped off in an area far from where police activity could be observed. But that's a different story.)

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department then sent demonstrators through a lengthy jail booking process, even though in similar circumstances, arrestees have typically been cited and released. They were placed in overcrowded, temporary holding cells with no beds and no chairs. “People needed medical attention that they didn’t get,” Lederman said. “No food was provided for more than twelve hours after our initial detention,” noted plaintiff Katie Loncke. “There was no room to lie down. I sat up against a wall for the entire night."

Lederman said she expects protesters who were part of the class action suit to receive somewhere around $4,500 each in settlement payments. In addition to the monetary payment, the settlement agreement reaffirms and reincorporates OPD's crowd control policy for up to seven years.

That policy dates back to 2004, when the NLG and the American Civil Liberties Union jointly drafted the regulations in the wake of an anti-war demonstration where police fired rubber bullets into the crowd, resulting in serious injuries and intense scrutiny on the police department's practices.

While OPD complied with the crowd control policy in the first years after it was implemented, Lederman said, there were relatively few mass mobilizations in the streets of Oakland until those mounted in response to the Oscar Grant shooting. Those street demonstrations were followed by 2011 mass marches organized in conjunction with the Occupy movement.

“Our primary goal, and our clients’ primary goal, was to stop” unlawful police practices that violated OPD's crowd control policy, Lederman said, “so that people can be freer to organize on the streets.”

Comments

That was you and others. But if you accept limitations on the 2nd, then you cannot credibly oppose similar limits on the Amendments that you just happen to personally prefer.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

I accept that every right under the Constitution has limits. It seems as though you do, except for that guaranteed by the 2nd.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 10:33 am

are you criticizing others of the same sin?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 10:44 am

What double standard? I've said again and again that every right guaranteed in the Constitution are subject to prudent limitation.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 10:55 am

You are just a loser internet commenter.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

resorting to abuse and insults.

The implication has to be that anyone who disagrees with your politics must be worthy of obscenities and harassment. Is that it?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

Because you are a sociopathic internet loser who obsessively comments here and has done more to ruin these comment pages than anyone else.

I don't insult Matlock, Snapples, Chromefields with whom I almost always disagree.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 2:52 am

you have no counter-argument, and that you are effectively conceding the debate. So do, please, continue to act out rather than seriously engage.

These comment pages are now far more balanced and objective than a year or too ago, but modesty prevents me from claiming as much of the credit for that as you give me. I have merely stood on the shoulders of giants.

But really, you take this place way too seriously. It's really mild amusement - nobody here is going to change the world, or even the city. So relax and just enjoy the back and forth.

Posted by anon on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 6:27 am

Oh, marcos, please, stop using 'anon.'

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

He has that clumsy verbal style where he tries too hard and ends up being obtuse.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

Tell us your name, and I will do the same. Or are you ashamed of it?

Posted by anon (not Marcos) on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

And even more Guests.

Then we have the Daniele/AnnG/Erika/Sue/KrisKraft/JCCCourt/Coppermom/Dootsie sock puppetry, and JAW posting as dozens of different guys all agreeing with him,

Why does it matter? Focus on the message; not the messenger.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

That's why I operate anonymously. What if my friends, family and neighbors found out what a dickhead I am?

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

help them pass the day while they're doing real things.

Lose the shame. It's troll pride week.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

Neighbors: definitely.

Family: probably, but likely a mail order bride.

Friends: doubtful, unless you are footing the bill from your vast wealth.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 2:54 am

Time here is sunk time, but if it provides amusement, then we are all doing our jobs.

It's taking this place seriously that is more shameful.

Posted by anon on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 6:30 am

Militia members are, by definition, civilians. In order for a group of armed civilians to be, regularly (i.e. consistently) capable and effective, they have to be allowed to keep and carry arms.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

Well, regulated!

Posted by anon on Jul. 04, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

Where and under what law?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:04 am

cases. You may not talk in a library or courtroom, for instance. Or utter hate speech anywhere.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:10 am

Well, the 1st Amendment is limited in that you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:16 am

It's a matter of interpretation of the Constitution, not limitation.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:35 am

The law is what the Supreme Court says it is.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:57 am
Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

Not commenting on a law means that SCOTUS has said, for the time being, it's all right.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

because nobody has presented it as a case for their attention. SCOTUS aren't saying that it is "all right" - they simply haven't offered an opinion at all.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

No opinion from the Court means the law is applied as written. What are we talking about here?

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

In that case, the courts must abide by precedents set by case law s and legal interpretations that accord with the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution is still the highest law of the land.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

At least until someone brings a case to SCOTUS.

I'm reassured that you have such faith in the court that handed Bush the Presidency in 2000.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

Well, it's the same Court that delivered Lawrence v. Texas, so you never know. Today's ruling on the Voting Rights Act was terrible, but I'm hopeful for tomorrow's on DOMA and Prop. 8.

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

perpetrates a violent crime on a white person - something that the crime stats tell us is 40 times more common than a white committing a violent crime on a black.

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

like the number of white people killed by black cops vs. the number of black people killed by white cops?

Note to NSA: Feel free to chime in with your metadatistic findings.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

incidents like this, and not about the incidents themselves.

The race of people who are injured or die as a result of police action is probably proportional to the extent to which that race engages in risky criminal behavior.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 5:55 am

destroying their own community. A tad short-sighted, and I cannot imagine the residents of Mill Valley smashing up their own town just because a white person there had been accidentally shot by a cop, or by a black criminal.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 7:09 am

And the paranoid and insecure US government seems to respond to any perceived threat to its security by destroying its own country. Problem?

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 7:46 am

Compared with that, ask me if I care that someone might have read your email. What do you have to hide anyway? Anyone who wants to is welcome to read my emails - the main risk would be boredom.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 9:26 am

There have been terrorist acts, just not a repeat of the exact circumstances of 9/11. On the other hand, it may be that 9/11 (that is, airplanes flying into buildings) has not been repeated before or since 9/11 because it was unique...or possibly an inside job.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

No use of WMD's on American mainland.

Whatever we are doing, it's working. It's not perfect but it's way better than doing nothing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

no accident. You remain a racist loser.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 9:35 am

instead went for involuntary manslaughter, which indicates a lack of premeditation and that negligence rather than malice was the root cause.

So yes, it was an accident, and that would be true if the shooter had been black and the victim had been white, so your "racist" slur" is wrong too.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 9:46 am

Mehserle meant to shoot Oscar Grant. He says with his taser. So he is at best poorly trained and stupid. More likely, a lying killer cop.

You are a racist. Two generations ago, you would be writing comments justifying lynching. "The nigger boys shouldn't have looked at the white girls with such desire."

Take your shit elsewhere.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:09 am

The jury, seeing all the evidence, ruled that it was not deliberate. Therefore it is an accident.

You, in your obsessive desire to always play the race card, and having not seen and heard all the evidence, instead just assume it was murder because it suits your politics.

I believe the jury, not you. And you are the racist here because you are the one making it about race.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:15 am

that mentioned race:

"Funny how whites do not riot and protest whenever a black
perpetrates a violent crime on a white person - something that the crime stats tell us is 40 times more common than a white committing a violent crime on a black."

Posted by anon on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

You are a dense, disingenuous, racist loser.

Mesherle may have made a mistake, but the shooting was not accidental. He aimed and he fired. There is video evidence (that the police tried to steal and suppress) that clearly shows that fact.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:31 am

Even though you weren't there, haven't seen and heard all the evidence, and only have second or third hand information?

On top of that, you clearly want to play the race card.

Sorry, no credibility, the jury got this right, and you're just a troublemaker.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:47 am

Are you denying you posted the first comment that mentioned race? And I am a troublemaker? Better that than troubled, which you surely are.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 pm
Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

Grant, therefore there is no grounds for your assertion that it was not an accident.

A light sentence, an early release, and a (so far) productive and honest life outside of prison all indicates that justice was done here.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:09 am

It is how you justify your ill gotten gains under organized crime aka capitalism.

White people risk = good.

Black people risk = bad.

At least you clarify your white supremacist racist mammon worshipping ideology.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 9:55 am
Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:07 am

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