D.C. Government Ponies Up Two Million

Legal fees stem to botched arrests in 2002

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    WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 14: The words "In God We Trust" are seen on U.S. currency October 14, 2004 in Washington, DC. Although the U.S. constitution prohibits an official state religion, references to God appear on American money, the U.S. Congress starts its daily session with a prayer, and the same U.S. Supreme Court that has consistently struck down organized prayer in public schools as unconstitutional opens its public sessions by asking for the blessings of God. The Supreme Court will soon use cases from Kentucky and Texas to consider the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on government property, addressing a church-state issue that has ignited controversy around the country. (Photo Illustration by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The Washington Post says the D.C. Government paid more than two million for lawyers representing D.C. police in a lawsuit going back to 2002.

    In September of that year, about 400 protestors and bystanders were arrested in Pershing Park in northwest. Heated demonstrations against the World Band and International Monetary Fund sparked the sweep-up of demonstrators and some people who just happened to be there at the time.   

    The latest accounting of money paid came last Thursday by lawyers who represent four bystanders who were arrested.  “The District continues to seek to drive up costs and prolong litigation in this case,” wrote lawyers Daniel Schwartz and Jonathan Turley, reported the Washington Post.  Adding the city  has “spared no expense” in defending former Chief Charles Ramsey and other police officials.

    The government has already settled a class-action suit brought by about 400 protestors who were allegedly denied constitutional rights after being arrested. The whopping amount of this settlement was 8.25 million. It was just one of several high dollar settlements reached by the District in the botched arrests.

    But the suit continues with the four bystanders. The fight has morphed into an investigation by U.S. Magsitrate John F. Facciola as to what happened to evidence in the case. Was it lost by police? Destroyed? Or changed?  We are talking about radio recordings, command logs and videotape.

    When the Washington Post called the Attorney General’s office seeking comment, the call was not returned. Yet.