Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

City Council Approves $12M for Protesters' Settlement

Nine hundred people were detained during protest activities in 2003

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City Council Approves $12M for Protesters' Settlement

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The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a settlement to compensate protesters who were detained in 2003 while demonstrating on Michigan Avenue against the Iraq War.

The City Council approved a payout of over $12 million to settle the cases. The settlements include $11 million for one settlement and just over $1 million for another

Ald. James Balcer (11th) was the only dissenting vote for the payments.

"I know there were people wrongly arrested or charged. I think it's wrong. However, speaking only for myself and only myself, I obeyed the law along with my friends who protested and held rallies during the war," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Attorneys representing the city offered $6.2 million to settle in February. More than 800 plaintiffs in the class-action suit claim police trapped and arrested them without giving clear orders to leave. All the charges were eventually dismissed.

Awards will range from $500 to $15,000 for those who were arrested and part of the $11 million suit.

The other suit's money will go to 16 individual plaintiffs were shopping on Michigan Avenue and were swept into the protests and arrested. They will each receive $17,500.

Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th) said the city has learned a great deal about how to handle protests since the ones in 2003.

"It was amply demonstrated in the NATO summit activities," he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The city will pay out nearly $4 million more in attorneys' fees.

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