$1.17M settlement approved in Alton Sterling protest lawsuit
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The city of Baton Rouge will pay a $1.17 million settlement to 14 people who accused local law enforcement of using excessive force and violating their First Amendment rights at a protest over Alton Sterling’s death in 2016.
The city’s Metro Council approved the settlement in a 7-4 decision Wednesday, five-and-a-half years after the protest in which the plaintiffs say they were wrongly arrested.
“This settlement should send a message to all law enforcement agencies,” William Most, attorney for the plaintiffs, told WAFB-TV Thursday. “If you won’t hold your officers accountable, we will.”
The 2017 lawsuit states the 14 plaintiffs — two of whom were identified as journalists — attended the July 10, 2016, protest in downtown Baton Rouge when they were arrested for allegedly obstructing a highway or public passageway.
Widespread protests occurred following the fatal shooting of Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, who was shot six times by a white Baton Rouge police officer outside a convenience store. The deadly interaction was caught on cellphone video. The officer was never charged.
In 2021 the Metro Council approved of a $4.5 million settlement to Sterling’s children.
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