The Oakland City Council agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a dozen Occupy Oakland protesters who alleged they were victims of excessive force by police during clashes with officers in 2011.
The plaintiffs included a man who was filming a line of police officers when one of them, on camera, shot the man in the leg with a beanbag.
The $1.17 million settlement, finalized Tuesday night, comes less than a month after a federal judge gave tentative approval to a $1.025 million payout to 150 people.
Those protesters alleged that Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies mistreated them while arresting them during a rally linked to the BART police killing of Oscar Grant in 2009.
Both settlements require Oakland police to adhere to city crowd-control policies, which prohibit deploying “less lethal” projectiles such as beanbags and tear-gas grenades into crowds and giving protesters a chance to disperse before mass arrests, said plaintiffs attorney Rachel Lederman of the National Lawyers Guild in San Francisco.
The agreements ensure federal court enforcement to oversee compliance for up to seven years.
The Occupy plaintiffs filed suit over their treatment by police on Oct. 25, 2011, when officers clashed with protesters who tried to reoccupy a camp outside City Hall that officers had cleared earlier in the day.
Also included in the suit were allegations that police had acted improperly after a general strike on Nov. 2, 2011, devolved into rioting early the next morning.
Two plaintiffs, Suzi Spangenberg, 52, and Sukay Sow, 21, who said they were injured by flash-bang grenades lobbed by police, will get $500,000 and $210,000, respectively.
Spangenberg, a seminarian, said she was in the process of telling police that “she loved them” when she was deafened by explosives. Spangenberg said she suffers from permanent hearing loss and suffered a large chemical burn on her foot.
Another plaintiff, Timothy Scott Campbell, 32, alleged that Officer Victor Garcia used a 12-gauge shotgun to strike him in the leg with a beanbag while Campbell was filming a police line on Nov. 3, 2011. Under the settlement, Campbell will receive $150,000.
On his video, Campbell could be heard asking, “Is this OK?” as he walked near a line of officers in riot gear. After Garcia fired, Campbell yelled in pain.
Campbell accused police of shooting him for “coming close to an imaginary line known only to them, and then joking about it." After being shot, he said, he felt "extreme shock, and then it was just severe pain for weeks.”
Campbell said he hoped the recent settlements would send police a message. Other plaintiffs will receive between $20,000 and $75,000.