Baton Rouge Paying $100,000 To Police Protesters

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After a Baton Rouge, La., police officer shot and killed Alton Sterling in July, hundreds took to the city’s streets in protest. Now, City Hall will pay out a few hundred dollars apiece to more than 90 protesters, including Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, who sued the city after their arrests, reports The Advocate. The Metro Council voted Tuesday evening to approve the settlement in the federal class-action lawsuit. The settlement, about $100,000 in total, will be paid by the city government, the Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III had said his office will not prosecute Mckesson and the other protesters booked on misdemeanor counts of obstructing a highway. The protesters’ lawsuit says Mckesson and the others were still required to post substantial bail, pay administrative fees and court costs in order to be released, and that they would have to pay more to have their arrests expunged. Their lawsuit alleges police were militarized and aggressive in their response to the protesters, and that law enforcement used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Councilman John Delgado was furious about the settlement payout, and was one of two on the 12-member body to vote against it. “To me, this encourages that type of behavior to happen in the future,” Delgado said. “I have no interest in paying $100,000 in taxpayer dollars to people who are coming into our city to protest.”

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