Most of '02 protest suit tossed
A federal judge Sunday tossed out the bulk of the last outstanding lawsuit filed in response to the controversial mass arrest of World Bank protesters in 2002 by D.C. police, ruling that four plaintiffs lacked standing to ask for government reforms beyond clearing their records.
In a rare weekend ruling, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the four George Washington University journalists and observers for the National Lawyers Guild could not legally seek broader changes on the grounds that they might be arrested in the future.
D.C. police arrested almost 400 people without warning Sept. 27, 2002, leaving many hogtied and in detention for more than 24 hours. In a series of settlements, police leaders have apologized, agreed to pay millions, and promised to increase officer training and record retention policies.
Critics say such moves are already required under existing law and that no city official has been punished for the events. The judge’s ruling does allow a probe into the disappearance of police logs and dispatch tapes to go forward, which the court has warned could lead to a referral for criminal prosecution in case there is evidence of a cover-up.
“We are still studying the opinion and looking at our options. We remain committed to taking the case to trial and holding these individuals responsible,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Jonathan Turley.
-- Spencer Hsu
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