Occupy Oakland Lawsuit Settled For $1.17 Million

The Oakland City Council approved a 1,170,000 settlement Tuesday night in a civil rights lawsuit brought by a National Lawyers Guild legal team on behalf of journalist Scott Campbell and 11 other persons who were injured in the Oakland Police Department's violent response to Occupy Oakland in the fall of 2011.


New Footage: OPD Shooting of Scott Campbell at Occupy Oakland

The National Lawyers Guild has settled a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of journalist Scott Campbell -- who inadvertantly filmed himself being shot -- and 11 other Occupy Oakland activists who were brutalized by the Oakland Police in the fall of 2011, for $1.17 million and negotiated reforms. This new video (above) recorded on Oakland Police officer lapel cameras. On it, after Campbell has been shot, officers are heard to say "Perfect!" and "Nice Shot!"

Scott Campbell received $150,000 in the settlement.

Suzi Spangenberg, a 52 year old seminarian, said, "I was in the middle of telling OPD I loved them when they threw explosives at me. The loud explosion caused permanent hearing loss and unrelenting ringing in my ears. As a result, I can only sleep 2 hours at a time which has had a serious impact on my life, including adversely impacting my graduate school studies, when I graduate, and when I will be ordained. It is my hope that there will never be cause for this type of lawsuit again, and the City can instead focus its resources on supporting the marginalized and those most in need of resources -- which is what we were protesting for." Spangenberg will receive $500,000 as part of the settlement.

19 year old Sukay Sow went to the Oct. 25, 2011, Occupy demonstration with her mother, and was searching for her younger brother to go home when she too was struck with an explosive grenade. The chemical agent burned off the top of her foot and left her in agony. "I was terrified to go to another protest of any kind," said Sow. "But the settlement makes me feel that maybe I can speak my mind without getting hurt again." Sow will receive $210,000 as part of the settlement.

These settlements are an important victory for democracy,” said Bobbie Stein, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys. ”We are hopeful that with these settlements, and the reform process under the watch of the new Compliance Director, we will achieve a culture shift in the Oakland Police Department and end the brutalization and wrongful arrests of activists and people of color in Oakland. While we remain optimistic, we are mindful of the 10 year history of broken promises, and we will be watching carefully and ready to take further action if necessary."

At least four more lawsuits have been filed against the city for police misconduct relating to Occupy protests in 2011 and 2012. In those a protester was nearly killed from being shot in the head (Veteran Scott Olsen) and another viciously beaten.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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