The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

$6.2M Settlement Agreed for 2003 Iraq War Protest Arrests

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The City of Chicago and lawyers representing more than 700 people allegedly unlawfully arrested during a 2003 Iraq war demonstration agreed to a $6.2 million settlement last week.

The Chicago Iraq war protest settlement is awaiting final court approval. Under the terms of the deal, those arrested and charged with a crime during the protest would receive up to $15,000 each, anyone arrested but not charged could get up to $8,750, and others detained on the street for more than 90 minutes before being released could receive up to up to $500, reports the Associated Press.

Back in 2003, more than 10,000 demonstrators took the streets to protest the Iraq invasion. After marchers were blocked off and trapped on a street, police began arresting people indiscriminately, reports the AP. Some of those arrested were passersby and innocent people who had just stepped out of neighboring restaurants and had nothing to do with the protest.

The lawsuit was filed in 2003, but encountered difficulties over the next nine years. A district court dismissed the suit, before a federal circuit court of appeals finally reinstated it last year. In its opinion, the higher court said police can’t arrest peaceful protesters without warning simply because they don’t have a permit to demonstrate, reports the AP.

Hundreds of plaintiffs will likely share the $6.2 million payout in the Chicago Iraq war protest settlement. For future reference, it appears that the Chicago police cannot arrest protestors indiscriminately, but must first give fair warning and give them a chance to disperse on their own before making their arrests.

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