McCarthy Won't Let Protest History Repeat - NBC Chicago
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McCarthy Won't Let Protest History Repeat



    (Published Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012)

    Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says Chicago has learned a thing or two about handling protests since the 2003 anti-war demonstration that sparked a legal battle.

    The city of Chicago's lawyers on Thursday offered up a $6.2 million settlement in a class-action suit following hundreds of arrests during the Iraq war protest nearly 10 years ago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    More than 800 plaintiffs in the case claim police trapped them that day at Chicago and Michigan avenues and arrested them without giving clear orders to leave, the Tribune reports. All charges were later dismissed.

    Nearly a decade later and ahead of the Chicago-hosted G8/NATO summits, McCarthy says much has changed in the city and police department.

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    "We've developed our strategies within the bounds of what we need to do to ensure notification happens," he said Thursday during an unrelated press conference.

    Case in point, McCarthy said, is the police department's dealings with Occupy Chicago.

    "There were very clear warnings given, they were videoed so they are on tape so that we could say, 'Yes we have issued these warnings,' " McCarthy said. "And then people received individual warnings."

    When the Occupy movement tried a New York-style campout in Grant Park in October, about 175 protesters were arrested. Police said they warned demonstrators numerous times that the park closed at 11 p.m. After protesters refused to budge, the arrests began at 1 a.m.

    "We've certainly learned lessons of the past as far as moving forward and what it is we need to do," McCarthy said.

    That doesn't mean Occupy isn't gearing up for the G8/NATO in May. Protesters have expressed frustration with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handling of First Amendment rights, and some anti-G8 protesters have even said they'll sue the city.

    As for the 2003 protest, the city would pay those who were arrested, charged and locked up to $15,000 as part of the settlement, according to the Chicago Tribune. The payouts will be introduced to the City Council in June.