San Diego City Council To Vote On $60,000 Settlement For Occupy Protestor
Monday, December 9, 2013
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
Plaintiff Ray Lutz's legal complaint against the city of San Diego.
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.