Saturday, August 23, 2008

NYC HAS TO PAY $2 MILLION FOR 5O FALSE PROTEST ARRESTS

NY Times - The city has agreed to pay $2,007,000 to end a lawsuit brought by 52 people who were swept up in a mass arrest along a Midtown sidewalk during a protest against the invasion of Iraq. They were charged with blocking pedestrians, but videotapes show that at their most annoying, they might have slowed a few people carrying coffee into work. Public order did not seem to be in unusual danger that morning - certainly nothing that called for rounding up 52 people, or spending millions of dollars. Only two people were tried; they were acquitted, and charges against the other 50 were dismissed.

The arrests were made on April 7, 2003, during the opening days of the invasion of Iraq and right after the city persuaded the Republican Party to hold its 2004 convention in New York. The people arrested said their rights to free speech had been abused, and sued the city and the police.

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