$1M settlement reached between Oakland, protesters of BART death
Both the Oakland Police Department and the Sheriff's Office agreed to make changes to policies that govern how each agency will deal with mass protests in the future
By Paul T. Rosynsky
The Oakland Tribune
OAKLAND, Calif. — About 150 protesters arrested by the Oakland Police Department during an Oscar Grant rally in 2010 will have their arrest records expunged and receive at least $4,500 each under an agreement reached with the city and Alameda County.
The $1.025 million settlement, which was preliminarily approved by a federal judge this month, stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by the National Lawyers Guild that claimed the city and county failed to follow state law or their own rules during the detention and arrest of protesters near Sixth Avenue and East 18th Street on Nov. 5, 2010.
Protesters said they were never given a chance to disperse when police halted a march that was to take place between downtown Oakland and the Fruitvale BART station. Then, after they were detained, protesters were made to sit in Alameda County Sheriff's Office buses and later in holding cells for up to 24 hours without ever being formally booked into jail.
Under state law, a person cannot be held for that long if only arrested on a misdemeanor charge, as was the case with the protesters.
Both the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the payout during recent closed-door meetings.
Representatives from Oakland and Alameda County did not return calls Monday seeking comment.
In addition to the payouts, both the Oakland Police Department and the Sheriff's Office agreed to make changes to policies that govern how
each agency will deal with mass protests in the future, court documents show.
"We are hoping and intending for the settlement to make a difference with what happens in the future," said Rachel Lederman, lead plaintiffs' attorney in the case. "This has been a problem in all the protests that have taken place."
Lederman said the four named plaintiffs in the case will each receive $9,000, while attorneys who worked on it will get $350,0000. Other protesters who were arrested that evening could get up to $4,500 each if they file a claim by Aug. 5. Oakland is paying $850,000, and the county is paying $175,000 of the total settlement.
Copyright 2013 The Oakland Tribune