SEATTLE TO CLEAR WTO ARREST RECORDS
By Colin McDonald
April 3, 2007
The WTO protestors who were arrested seven years ago in Seattle's
Westlake Park could see their records cleared and a $1 million
settlement for their illegal arrest, according to an announcement
made this morning by the plaintiffs.
The money from the class action lawsuit would be used to cover legal
fees and be divided among the estimated 175 protestors who were
arrested on December 1, 1999, in the park.
The proposed settlement, which was announced today by Public Justice,
a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, also would require Seattle to
improve training of its officers in dealing with mass arrests. A
court must still approved the proposed settlement.
In January, a federal jury found the city of Seattle had violated the
Fourth Amendment rights of the protestors when it made a blanket
arrest of everyone in the park. According to court documents and
video tapes of the arrest, many of those charged were not told what
they were being arrested for or given an opportunity to leave the
park before the arrests started.
The city of Seattle already has paid $800,000 to settle more than a
dozen lawsuits and claims.