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Metro council approves million-dollar settlement in lawsuit over arrests stemming from 2016 protests

1 year 4 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, February 15 2023 Feb 15, 2023 February 15, 2023 5:00 PM February 15, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council approved paying out $1.17 million to settle a lawsuit tied to the arrests of 14 protestors after the 2016 death of Alton Sterling.

That legal battle is playing out in federal court, and Wednesday's special meeting was likely the last chance to settle matter outside the courtroom. The matter passed 7-4 with one councilmemer absent. 

On July 10, 2016, people filled the streets of Baton Rouge following the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot by a Baton Rouge police officer. Protesters chanted in standoffs with police in riot gear, who told them not to block the streets. Officers eventually arrested more than 100 people.

"We were trying to get on the interstate. We had started at the Capitol and we were marching down the street, but the police blocked us here before we could get to the interstate," Tommy Curtain told WBRZ that day. "We wanted to make the display and show exactly why we were together. We didn't realize that, they just told us to go another direction."

The end of the protests was just the beginning of a years-long legal battle. Several demonstrators sued the city-parish for what they say were wrongful arrests and excessive force.

In a 2016 interview recorded days after his arrest, Akeem Ali told WRKF, the Baton Rouge public radio station, that he marched with hundreds to the Capitol, and that there were no conflicts until police showed up.

Parties to the lawsuit, and their attorneys, were not willing to talk Wednesday about where the negotiations stand, how likely the settlement was to pass or whether it was an appropriate outcome.

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