Downtown policing incident costs city $75,000

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January 19, 2004 // UPDATED 2:38 pm - April 24, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The City Council agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit on a case of alleged police brutality Downtown.

Robert Greenberg accused the police of using excessive force, false arrest, conspiracy, violation of his right to free speech, and assault and battery during a 2000 May Day protest, said a memo from the City Attorney's office.

According to the Dec. 1 memo from Timothy Skarda:

Police had identified Greenberg as a potential leader and had instructions to arrest him if he violated the law. Police saw a group, including Greenberg, cross a street mid-block. They followed and saw Greenberg put on a mask.

Officers stopped and attempted to arrest Greenberg. When he did not respond to a request to put his hands behind his back, they forced him to the ground.

Greenberg said he crossed the street with a group of people after an officer waived them across. He denied having a mask (and the police did not have one in their possession.) Greenberg said he got a herniated disk as a result of the arrest. A medical record review said he had not previously sought treatment for a back problem.

A federal judge was scheduled to hear the case Jan. 7. The Council had previously rejected a $150,000 settlement offer. It approved the $75,000 settlement on a voice vote Dec. 29, with Councilmember Dean Zimmermann (6th Ward) declining to vote and Sandy Colvin Roy (12th Ward) and Gary Schiff (9th Ward) absent.