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Indybay Feature
Tue Feb 7 2017
Victory in Civil Rights Lawsuit Over Police Violence at Berkeley Protest
Settlement Reached for Berkeley Police Brutality at 2014 Black Lives Matter Protest
Protesters and journalists have reached a tentative settlement with the City of Berkeley in a National Lawyers Guild federal civil rights lawsuit over police brutality at a December 6, 2014, racial justice protest. The plaintiffs alleged that they were clubbed and tear gassed for no reason and forcibly herded more than a mile down Telegraph Avenue, from the south campus area into Oakland. The settlement, which is expected to be approved at the February 14, 2017, Berkeley City Council meeting, includes policy changes intended to prevent a recurrence of the police misconduct, and $125,000 for seven plaintiffs. Two other plaintiffs settled earlier with the City of Hayward, whose police provided mutual aid at the protest, for an undisclosed amount.

The 2014 protest was a march calling for justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd and other unarmed Black people who have been killed by police. “The march was largely peaceful,” said Rachel Lederman, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “But the Berkeley Police almost immediately began hitting people in an indiscriminate manner and causing needless confrontation. One of the main issues was an unwritten Berkeley Police policy that at demonstrations, officers were allowed to use their batons on anyone who entered their “safety zone” – an unmarked, undefined distance from a line of officers.”

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Related Features: Lawsuit Challenges Police Violence At 2014 Berkeley Protest | Anti-Police Protests in Berkeley Swell Following Eric Garner Grand Jury Announcement
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