$14 Million Suit Won against Illegal Arrests


Were you arrested at IAC demonstration on April 15, 2000 in Washington, D.C.?

$14 Million Suit Won against Illegal Arrests
$18,000 to each arrestee — IF you file before May 17, 2010!

Spread the Word!

Ten years ago this month, the International Action Center initiated a major demonstration focused on the Prison Industrial Complex.  It was held in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.  The march was called to take place on April 15, the day before militant actions to oppose the criminal policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which were meeting in that city; thousands of youth took part in those protests.

The IAC rally demanded freedom for all political prisoners, including Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.  It sought to draw the attention of the international media — which was gathering to hear the bankers and financiers at the IMF/World Bank meeting — to the millions of prisoners held captive in U.S. dungeons.

The IAC aimed to deepen class consciousness and to link a militant current of new activists to solidarity with the most oppressed African-American, Latino/a, and Native American prisoners.  Although the demonstration was a legally permitted protest, the public focus on the institutionalized racism of the prison system itself presented a major and intolerable challenge to the state’s repressive apparatus.

After the rally ended at the Department of (In)justice, the march proceeded to the IMF building.  Suddenly, and without warning or an order to disperse, the Washington, D.C.  police closed the streets and arrested 700 protesters, along with some members of the media and passersby.  Many arrestees were held for 18 to 24 hours in police buses and holding cells, painfully handcuffed wrist-to-ankle in cramped positions.

There was widespread media coverage of the police sweep and massive arrests of demonstrators as they marched to the IMF building.

The IAC was determined to expose the preemptive and disruptive attacks on a legal demonstration and to publicize the massive illegal arrests.  The organization was not going to allow the flagrant violation of the rights of freedom of speech and assembly to go unchallenged.

IAC activists painstakingly gathered the names and detailed depositions of many of the arrestees.  They provided this information, along with extensive video footage, and hundreds of photographs, to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund attorneys, who filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of those arrested.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund diligently persevered and successfully sued the District of Columbia and won the largest class-action settlement of protester claims in U.S. history, totaling nearly $14 million.  It insures that each class member can file a claim to receive $18,000 in financial compensation, that the arrests will be expunged, and that all arrestees who join in the settlement will receive a court order declaring their arrest null and void.

Several lead plaintiffs in this case have already pledged to donate their funds from the settlement to the IAC to continue its 19-year legacy of organizing against war, racism and corporate bailouts, and for jobs and human needs.

How to file a claim

Those who can file a claim are “all persons who were detained and arrested on April 15, 2000 near the area of 20th Street, NW and I and K Streets, Washington D.C., in connection with the protest against the Prison Industrial Complex during the IMF/World Bank demonstrations.”

The funds will be distributed through a Class Administrator; the toll-free number is 1-877-567-4780.  Claim forms can be downloaded at www.BeckerSettlement.com.  Mail them to: Becker v. District of Columbia Administrator, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, P.O. Box 8060, San Rafael, CA 94912-8060.  The deadline for filing all claims for financial compensation is May 17.

Those who filed forms to be included in the lawsuit filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund are not automatically included in this settlement.  Each individual arrested must file a new Proof of Claim Form and mail it to the Class Administrator at the above address before May 17.  This is the only way to receive the $18,000 settlement.  Otherwise, unclaimed funds will revert to the government.  Please forward this notice to your friends, other activists, or anyone who could be a claimant.

The International Action Center: <www.iacenter.org>; Partnership for Civil Justice: <www.justiceonline.org>.

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