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Posted at 8:53 PM ET, 09/19/2010

Most of '02 protest suit tossed

By Erica Johnston

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

By Erica Johnston  | September 19, 2010; 8:53 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC  
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Comments

Not necessarily faulting Judge Sullivan, it's depressing that once again "lack of standing" is invoked when it comes to actually aggrieved citizens trying to get the government to follow the law.

If these people were to incorporate themselves, would that then give them standing?

And why was the decision, hardly time-sensitive, issued on a Sunday? And given the statutes of limitations, is it even possible for there to be a prosecution for the cover-up?

Posted by: edallan | September 20, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

This is why lawyers need to drawn and quartered. 20 years ago these protestors would have been beaten with a club. The DC police are morons and the protestors even bigger morons.

Posted by: espnfan | September 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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