Settlement for May Day 2007 Lawsuits Unanimously Approved by Los Angeles City Council

MALDEF pleased that City agrees to settle all pending federal claims arising out of police

February 04, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a settlement agreement in the litigation between the victims of the MacArthur Park melee and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). MALDEF, along with attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild and the National Police Accountability Project, represent approximately 200 clients in the lead case, Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Worker Organizing Network (MIWON) v. City of Los Angeles, which was filed in United States District Court for the Central District of California on May 9, 2007. It was certified as a class action by federal district court Judge A. Howard Matz in early January 2008.

“We are pleased that the City Council of Los Angeles approved the settlement agreement; however, the families who were indiscriminately attacked by LAPD officers armed with batons and rubber bullets will never be the same. It is incumbent upon all of us to restore trust and confidence in a police department that is supposed to serve and protect all Angelenos,” said Nancy Ramirez, Western Regional Counsel.

The settlement approved by the City Council today includes 200 plaintiffs in the MIWON case, as well as another 100 plaintiffs in eight related cases in federal court. The settlement provides for $12,850,000 to be paid to settle all claims of injury resulting from the police actions that day. The settlement also provides a pool of money for claims by unnamed class members, as well as injunctive relief addressing policy revisions and training by the Los Angeles Police Department on crowd control issues, including how and when an unlawful assembly may be declared and the use of less-lethal munitions on demonstrators.

“This settlement effectively closes a brutal chapter in LAPD’s history. It must never happen again. MALDEF will work with other civil rights organizations and community leaders to safeguard the rights of the Latino community,” John Trasvina, President & General Counsel.

Preliminary approval of the settlement approved today is set to be heard by Judge Matz on February 13, 2009.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund