City Proposes $6.2 Million Settlement With 2003 Iraq War Protesters

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.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

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.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Bill Novak

    Talk about outrage! I can’t believe they would pay those anti-war Losers a single dime of taxpayer money. What the hell is going to happen in the spring when thousands of f.u.c.king Losers converge on the city for the summits? There aren’t much lower life forms than activists trying to force their opinions on people who aren’t the least bit interested in what they think!!!!!!!

    • pago

      Its called democracy. Look it up.

      • Bill Novak

        It’s one thing to express your opinion freely, but it’s a whole different thing when it is being force fed to us. The majority of Americans don’t agree with most activists and are affected negatively by their presence. It’s a right to speak your mind, but it’s not a right to inconvenience people, to tie up traffic, and cause property damage. Why can’t they protest quietly, so as not to disturb the rest of us. People who are interested in what they think can get up close to hear their whining!!!!

  • john

    Liberals getting paid by Liberals, this is Chicago dont you know.

  • Just Axin

    You’d think this was the first time CPD handled a crowd. They should be on top of their game to minimize lawsuits.

  • tony

    Its almost worth getting arrested in chicago.seems like if you get arrested you could make money by suiting the city.i may make this a source of income for myself

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