CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago has reached a $6.2 million settlement with protesters who were arrested or detained by police during a 2003 demonstration against the Iraq War.
The city is settling lawsuits on behalf of more than 800 protesters who accused Chicago Police officers of arresting people in masse without cause.
Plaintiff attorney Joey Mogul says both sides announced the agreement Thursday in federal court in Chicago.
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The proposed settlement is still subject to City Council approval.
Last month, attorneys for the plaintiffs said the city had little choice but to settle after a harshly-worded federal appeals court ruling that Chicago Police made “mass arrests without justification” after changing the rules in the middle of the game.
In late March 2003, police allowed the anti-war demonstration without a permit to shut down Lake Shore Drive during the height of the evening rush, then trapped demonstrators at Chicago and Michigan avenues and arrested more than 500 of them – and detained 350 others — without giving them a notice to disperse or an opportunity to leave.
The city has spent $3.5 million to defend itself against the two cases, the plaintiffs’ attorneys contend.
“The city arrested people without probable cause and incarcerated them for 18 to 36 hours. They should have let everybody go home. All of them wanted to leave. Every one of them. We have them on videotape asking for permission to leave,” Greg Gorman, an attorney for the 16 of the demonstrators, said last month.
Corporation Counsel Steve Patton said last month that the controversial parade ordinance recently approved by the City Council in advance of the NATO/G8 summits was tailor-made to prevent a repeat of the 2003 fiasco.
“It specifically authorized police to accommodate a public assembly and march that turns, in effect, into a parade,” he said.
At a City Council hearing three months after the 2003 demonstration, protesters told horror stories and invoked comparisons to the ugly clash between Vietnam War protesters and police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
They demanded an apology from then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. They claimed that Daley personally ordered demonstrators held in police lock-ups until 2 p.m. the next day because he was livid the protest had shut down Lake Shore Drive.
The Associated Press and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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