A year ago we reported in our newsletter that a young activist, who was 14 in 2002 when she was illegally arrested at a protest, decided to donate a significant portion of the compensation she received. The donor, now in her 20’s, wrote: “Naturally some of the settlement needs to go back into the activist pot.”
Recently, we received a second very generous donation from another protester who received similar reparation. She wrote:
“In September of 2002, I was illegally arrested, along with nearly 400 others, by the DC police during an early morning demonstration…. Protesters and many bystanders were gathering in Pershing Park when the police swept in, encircled the park and arrest everyone inside. All of us who were arrested were placed on buses for many hours, then taken to a facility were we were 'hog tied' for the night (one wrist handcuffed to the opposite ankle). I was held a little over 24 hours.
After the arrest, I joined a class action lawsuit [which claimed] that our arrest violated the Constitution. After many years the courts agreed with us, and at the end of 2010, I received a check for my portion of a settlement from that lawsuit. During court hearings, evidence arose that DC police had lost or mysteriously edited nearly all authoritative police evidence of that day, and one result of our lawsuit is that police have implemented a system of accountability for the logging of evidence. Another, while a bit hard to believe, is that DC police will now require their officers to undergo more training around First Amendment issues. This lawsuit was the third big settlement for improper arrests in DC.
My desire is to see the money I was awarded … go back into grassroots social movements – the kinds of organizations that in many ways got me to where I was on that day in 2002, in the streets with thousands of others, calling forth a vision of a more just world, one based on people instead of profits.”
I’ve decided to share most of her letter with you because I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
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