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Civil Rights Group Settles With Police Over Inauguration Protests

Reprinted from The Associated Press

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice, which alleged that police unlawfully prevented people from approaching the parade route and used plainclothes officers to assault demonstrators.

The Metropolitan Police Department has agreed to make sure requirements that officers report the use of force remain in place during public protests, PCJ said. Such requirements had been suspended during demonstrations, the group said.

Under the settlement, officer training will be changed to reflect that requirement, and training will also include restrictions on the use of police lines against protesters and instruction that no one can be arrested for parading without a permit.

The district has agreed to pay $685,000 to cover damages to two people who were assaulted by plainclothes officers and attorney fees and other costs, the group said.

“This is a victory for the First Amendment rights of all people who seek to protest in the capital of the United States without police brutality and disruption of assembly,” PCJ attorney and co-founder Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for city lawyers said she had not yet seen the settlement and therefore could not comment.

The PCJ also sued the Secret Service and the National Park Service for their role during the inauguration. That part of the case is still pending.