Victims of excessive police force at one of the most violent flashpoints of the Occupy protests have received a $1m compensation settlement.
The US district court in San Francisco made the award to a group of 12 protesters who complained of brutality during in confrontations with police in Oakland, California, in 2011. The payouts come in the wake of criticism from independent experts who said the police department was under-resourced and ill-prepared to deal with the protests.
The lawsuits detailed how police reacted to the protesters when they tried to reclaim a camp which had been cleared earlier that day. Suzi Spangenberg and Sukay Sow said they were injured by flashbang grenades thrown by officers. Spangenberg, a 52-year-old seminarian was awarded $500,000 in compensation, while Sow, who suffered chemical burns to her foot, received $210,000.
Spangenberg said on Wednesday: "I was in the middle of telling OPD I loved them when they threw explosives at me. The loud explosion caused permanent hearing loss and unrelenting ringing in my ears. As a result, I can only sleep 2 hours at a time which has had a serious impact on my life, including adversely impacting my graduate school studies, when I graduate, and when I will be ordained.