February 22, 2012
Chicago city officials have agreed to a $6.2 million settlement with the more than 800 protesters who were wrongfully arrested or detained in 2003 while demonstrating against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Members of the class action lawsuit will receive compensation ranging from $500 to $15,000, depending on whether they were merely detained by police or were arrested, charged and went to court.
Prior to the settlement, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the protesters, saying the city was wrong to arrest or detain them without first giving them a chance to disperse and leave the area.
With the lawsuit behind them, city officials are now concentrating on the upcoming G8 and NATO summits that Chicago will host May 19-20 and May 20-21 respectively. Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy says the city has learned lessons from the Iraq War protests, but the department also is gearing up for possible confrontations with demonstrators, purchasing more than 3,000 new face shields produced by Super Seer Corp. of Colorado, and aerial surveillance technology provided by Vislink of California as part of Chicago’s security contract with Motorola. Even the horses used by Chicago’s mounted police will be outfitted with new leather nose guards with “impact-absorbing foam.”