New York City's raid on Occupy Wall Street that cleared the group's Zuccotti Park encampment will cost the city more than $350,000 — and that total could still rise.
On Tuesday, the city announced it would pay $365,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by people whose property was destroyed in that November 2011 raid.
Occupy Wall Street sued the city last year, alleging that police ruined more than 3,000 donated books the group had taken to calling the People's Library. The group sought $47,000 in damages, which the city has agreed to pay in full. The city will also cover $186,350 in legal fees, with Brookfield Properties, Zuccotti Park's owners, covering $16,000 of that total.
"Our clients are pleased," Occupy's attorney, Normal Siegel, told the Village Voice's Nick Pinto. "We had asked for damages of $47,000 for the books and the computers, and we got $47,000. More important — we would not have settled without this — is the language in the settlement. This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books."
Without directly admitting fault for the damages — Courthouse News Service's Adam Klasfeld notes that the settlement is written in the passive voice — the city offered a mini mea culpa.
From the settlement:
Defendants further acknowledge and believe it unfortunate that certain library furnishings and equipment likewise were damaged so as to render them unusable, and other library furnishings and equipment may be unaccounted for. Plaintiffs and Defendants recognize that when a person's property is removed from the city it is important that the City exercise due care and adhere to established procedures in order to protect legal rights of the property owners.
According to the New York Post, the city hauled away 26 truckloads of books and other belongings from the Zuccotti camp site during the raid. Some 1,000 books were later recovered, less than one-third of the 3,600 that Occupy says were part of the People's Library.
In separate settlements also announced this week, the city agreed to pay $75,000 to Global Revolutions TV, a media outlet that claimed their equipment was broken by police in the raid, and to cover their nearly $50,000 in legal fees. The city also said it would pay $8,500 to Times Up New York, a cycling advocacy non-profit, for damages to their bike-powered generators.
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