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City of Oakland Gives 'Occupy' Protesters a Whopping $1.17 Million Over Allegations of Excessive Force


Suzi Spangenberg, a 52-year-old divinity student, will get $500,000.

Demonstrators clash with police during May Day protests demanding everything from wage increases to an end to austerity measures, Tuesday, May 1, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. (Photo: AP)

The Oakland City Council has agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a dozen Occupy Oakland protesters who said they were the victims of excessive force during clashes with police in 2011.

The $1.17 million payout follows criticism by outside experts who agreed that the Oakland Police Department was understaffed and not prepared to deal with the demonstrations, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Occupy protesters bang on a metal shield as they square off with Oakland police officers during a May Day demonstration on May 1, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo: Getty Images)

Plaintiffs Suzi Spangenberg and Sukay Sow claimed they were injured by flash-bang grenades thrown by officers.

Spangenberg, a "52-year-old divinity student," in the words of the Oakland Tribune, will get $500,000.

Sow, who says she suffered a second-degree chemical burn on her foot during the clash at a City Hall camp, will get $210,000.

The agreement also requires police to adhere to new crowd-control policies, like ending the practice of sending protesters arrested for misdemeanors to jail for the night or several days.  Now, they are to be processed near where they were arrested.

Plaintiff Timothy Scott Campbell, who will receive $150,000, says he was shot in the thigh with a beanbag round while filming police on November 3.

He posted video of the incident on YouTube (the apparent shot comes around 30 seconds in):

Other "occupiers" will receive mixed amounts between $20,000 and $75,000.

"This is really a good decision by the city and the Police Department to take some responsibility for the fiasco of their ill-planned response to Occupy Oakland and to take responsibility by compensating some of the people who were the most seriously injured," Rachel Lederman, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, commented.

She did not, however, rule out more suits of a similar nature.

"We hope that we will no longer have to keep bringing these lawsuits, but it's been a very long road with Oakland police, so it remains to be seen whether there will be compliance," Lederman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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