Occupy Oakland protesters who were arrested on January 28th, 2012 outside the Oakland YMCA will likely share a $1.36 million settlement on behalf of Oakland and Alameda County, as the Oakland Tribune reports.
With that, the last of Oakland's major Occupy-related lawsuits looks to be squared away. In total, the city has agreed to pay more than $7 million to settle lawsuits brought by Occupy protesters who alleged misconduct at the hands of police.
Last week a federal magistrate tentatively approved the settlement concerning the mass arrests of 360 people between 23rd and 24th Streets. $350,000 of the $1.36 million would go to lawyers, $9,000 each to the eight plaintiffs, and less than $3,000 per person to other protesters.
It was one of the fiercest days of the Occupy Oakland protests. Before the arrests, hundreds of protesters confronted police in front of the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, which they hoped to occupy as a new encampment. Many held shields. Following the arrests, other protesters broke into the building and vandalized its first floor.
Attorneys for Oakland and Alameda County agreed to pay the sum, the County since it operates the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin where the protesters were held for 12 to 85 hours in overcrowded, cold cells lacking adequate sanitary facilities. None was charged.
"OPD can't arrest everybody in a crowd just because they don't want [them] to march anymore," Yolanda Huang, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Tribune. "You can only arrest someone if you see that they are committing a crime. That is the premise of our law."
It's possible that such Occupy lawsuits have been effective in changing police behavior in an era of further protest. Huang told the Tribune that the city and county now cite and release demonstrators rather than jailing them, per a previous lawsuit.