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San Diego City Council To Vote On $60,000 Settlement For Occupy Protestor

Ray Lutz Arrested During Occupy Protest

Activist Ray Lutz is arrested during the Occupy San Diego protest in 2011.

Aired 12/9/13 on KPBS News.

Ray Lutz's settlement with the City of San Diego for his arrest during Occupy San Diego is up for a vote at the City Council.

An issue left over from the Occupy San Diego protests two years ago will finally be put to rest at Tuesday's San Diego City Council meeting.

Activist Ray Lutz was arrested while registering people to vote in Civic Center Plaza in 2011. He sued the city for the arrest and reached a settlement, which is up for approval at Tuesday's 10 a.m. council meeting.


Ray Lutz's Complaint Against City of San Diego

Ray Lutz's Complaint Against City of San Diego

Plaintiff Ray Lutz's legal complaint against the city of San Diego.

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Lutz's arrest during Occupy San Diego was documented on YouTube and caused outrage in San Diego. Lutz, also a failed Congressional candidate, was handcuffed while sitting at a table and registering voters.

The city infringed on his civil rights and falsely arrested him, Lutz said, so he sued. If the City Council approves at Tuesday's meeting, he'll be given $60,000 in a settlement. His arrest record was also expunged.

Lutz wants to use the City Council's vote on his settlement to make a point about his arrest.

"This is an opportunity for people to voice their support for the settlement and to come in and talk about the egregious arrests that have occurred in San Diego in and around Civic Center Plaza and other places where people were trying to do peaceful political activity and they were arrested for it," he said.

Civic Center Plaza is technically private property, and when Lutz was arrested, the security guards told him he was being detained for trespassing. But the city's municipal code says the trespassing law does not apply to people who are picketing or doing other "peaceful political activities."

"I was doing voter registration, and that is definitely a peaceful political activity, so the law says I'm allowed to do that," Lutz said.

Lutz also reached a settlement with the security firm that arrested him and the building management company that oversees Civic Center Plaza. He says the terms of that settlement can't yet be released, but that CBRE Group, the building management company, has agreed to circulate a letter among its building clients telling them to allow peaceful political activity.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | December 9, 2013 at 3:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

The city of San Diego has a sad history of breaking the law, then using taxpayer money to pay off settlements when the courts find against it.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | December 10, 2013 at 7:41 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

other people's money ( the council gets their pay no matter what)

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Avatar for user 'COEnygaard'

COEnygaard | December 10, 2013 at 9:27 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Maybe this "failed congressional candidate" should do something with this money instead of pocket it. I would hope his concern is truly about the public interest, and think it would be interesting to know what he does with the money. I mean its 60,000 dollars that he shouldn't have had to come by, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal to say invest it in community support organizations.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | December 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Great Job Ray Lutz! Thank you for organizing voter registration in the Civic Center Plaza of San Diego City Hall so that homeless and occupy protesters could register to vote before the 2012 elections. This kind of abuse of police authority and illegal arrest of citizens practicing the right to speech and assemble in the public square is what kills our democracy.

So, thank you, RAY LUTZ for your courage and leadership in these difficult times. I hope the settlements you receive will cover your legal bills and help compensate you and your family for the time, effort, and emotional suffering you suffered being publicly arrested and intimidated for doing your duty as a citizen. With luck this kind of monetary reward will help inspire courage in our youth to stand up to police abuse and bring suit against false arrests in the future.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | December 16, 2013 at 6:56 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Why is it legal to protest on private property aganst the wishes of the property owner? Isn't that what public property is for?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 16, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

Now they can spend even more time occupying instead of getting jobs. Great.

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