By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - New York City has agreed to
pay Occupy Wall Street protesters more than $100,000 for
property damaged or lost when police cleared out their
encampment in a downtown Manhattan park in 2011, according to
court documents signed on Tuesday.
The settlement includes $47,000 for books and library
equipment lost or damaged in the raid on Zuccotti Park, where
the protesters, campaigning against economic inequality, had
camped for nearly two months, setting up tents and a ramshackle
Hundreds of books were damaged, and more than 2,000
books were never returned after police raided the park early on
Nov. 15, 2011, said Norman Siegel, an attorney for the
Brookfield Office Properties, named in the protesters'
federal lawsuit as owner of Zuccotti Park, will reimburse the
city one third of the $47,000 in library damages, the documents
The city also agreed to settle two related federal lawsuits
by paying the protesters $75,000 for lost or damaged computers
and network and broadcasting equipment, and $8,500 to an
environmental group for 16 lost or damaged "energy bicycles"
used as power generators at the park, the documents said.
The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York.
In the raid, police arrested more than a hundred protesters
and dismantled the encampment, which city officials said had
become a health and fire safety hazard.
The encampment had been most visible fixture of the Occupy
Wall Street movement, which inspired similar protests in dozens
of cities across the United States and around the world.
"This settlement creates a record that what they did that
night was wrong," Siegel said.
The city acknowledged in court documents that the damage and
loss of property were "unfortunate" and said it was important to
"adhere to established procedures in order to protect the legal
rights of the property owners."
But city officials in a separate statement on Tuesday
defended the eviction from Zuccotti Park.
"It was absolutely necessary for the city to address the
rapidly growing safety and health threats posed by the Occupy
Wall street encampment," the statement said.
"There are many reasons to settle a case, and sometimes that
includes avoiding the potential for drawn-out litigation that
bolsters plaintiff attorney fees."
The park's library had been an "eclectic" collection of
titles, including many political and history books, Siegel said.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Todd Eastham)
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