Some residents of Philadelphia have settled a lawsuit against the city’s police department.
According to several news reports, lawyers with Legal Defense Fund and Abolitionist Law Center announced a $9.25 million settlement with 340 residents of Philadelphia, in which police were accused of using excessive force on George Floyd demonstrators.
“Today’s monetary compensation is an important step, but it does not represent full accountability for the harm that occurred. Police fired tear gas at our family’s home, leaving my three-year-old son crying and my six-year-old son completely terrified. The house was enclosed in gas, and we were trapped inside with nowhere to go,” Shahidah, one of several plaintiffs, told NBC10. “The city still has not given us a simple apology, and it must properly acknowledge this egregious act before true healing can begin. I pray this settlement will change how the city and its police force deal with those they are supposed to protect and serve.”
NewsOne obtained a copy of the statement:
In a settlement order signed Monday by U.S. District Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge, the city agreed to pay plaintiffs in four federal civil rights lawsuits, as well as contribute $500,000 to a fund that will provide counseling to victims of police violence and offer community-led programming. That money will be distributed to grassroots organizations via grants through the Bread & Roses Community Fund.
The damages awarded to each of the about 350 plaintiffs vary depending on the circumstances of their cases, attorneys said during a news conference at the Paul Robeson House and Museum in West Philadelphia.
According to reports, “the lawsuits focused on two incidents: the mass teargassing of protesters on I-676 on June 1, 2020, and the police use of military-style weaponry on demonstrators and neighborhood residents while attempting to curb looting and violence along the 52nd Street corridor in West Philadelphia, a historically Black neighborhood.”
According to Law & Crime, the lawsuit was filed in 2020 and accused Philadelphia Police Department of using “rubber bullets, pepper balls, and other uses of force, in some cases hurting people who weren’t involved in the protests.”