DC to pay $1.6 mil to settle lawsuits that allege excessive force by MPD


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The District of Columbia will pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits filed by the ACLU of DC and the Law Office of Jeffrey Light on behalf of demonstrators and journalists who were victims of unlawful confinement and excessive force.

On January 20, 2017, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department rounded up more than 200 people who vandalized and damaged property while protesting former President Donald Trump’s inauguration. They deployed pepper spray, flash-bang grenades, concussion grenades, and sting balls. They also detained the protesters for 16 hours without access to food, water, or restrooms. 

Gwen Frisbie-Fulton of North Carolina joined the lawsuit. While she protested with her 10-year-old son, they were both pepper-sprayed. “The settlement doesn’t change or undo what happened but my hope is that it does build pressure on the D.C. police and police everywhere as we as a nation think about police reform.”

As part of the settlement, the Metropolitan Police Department will modify procedures for mass arrests, which will allow access to basic necessities like restrooms and water. “We have a new chief here in D.C. and we hope that he will learn from the mistakes of his predecessor and be more respectful of the Constitution in the future,” said Legal Director of the ACLU of DC Scott Michelman.

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