Andrew Goff / Wednesday, Sept. 13 @ 4:15 p.m. / Courts, Local Government
Eureka Settles Lawsuit Over 2011 Arrest, Agreeing to Give Occupy Protester $50K
Whoa! Blast from the occupied past! The City of Eureka sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that its insurance carrier has settled with onetime Eureka occupier and Humboldt Grassroots member Andrew Hamer — kinda see him, above — to the tune of $50,000 in a case that eventually crept all the way up to the Ninth District Court of Appeals.
The incident in question occurred in the early morning hours of November 11, 2011, when the Eureka Police Department attempted to break up the growing Occupy Eureka tent village on the lawn of the Humboldt County Courthouse (across the street from that bank).
More than 30 individuals were arrested by EPD for unlawful lodging that morning. At the time, Occupy Eureka claimed law enforcement had used excessive force during the raid, and social media posts from that era singled out Hamer as having received metal baton-blows to the head.
Above: YouTube video by Mark Sailors of the Nov. 11, 2011 arrests
In its press release, today, the City of Eureka claims to possess video showing that Eureka Police Department officers acted properly during the arrests. Nevertheless, mounting defense costs prompted the City to settle in order to ease the financial strain on its insurer, an action, the release stresses, that “is not to be construed as an admission of liability.”
“The City of Eureka is confident that its police officers acted within the law and policies of the department and the City and its officers would have prevailed if this case had moved forward in court.” Read the full City of Eureka press release below:
The City of Eureka’s insurance carrier, Redwood Empire Municipal Insurance Fund (REMIF) has settled United States District Court Case entitled “Andrew Hamer, plaintiff, v. City of Eureka, et al.,defendants,” action number 12-CV-6077-JSW. This action was filed against the City in 2012 after an incident occurring on November 14, 2011 during the Occupy protest at the Humboldt County Courthouse. The County of Humboldt had a separate action brought against them by Mr. Hamer.
Andrew Hamer had alleged that he was injured during an arrest in which Eureka Police Officers detained and handcuffed him. Virtually all of the events during the arrest are captured on multiple videos that support the accounts of the defendant officers. EPD officers made several arrests during the Occupy standoff at the County Courthouse along with officers from the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office. Officers used great care when dealing with each protestor and during Mr. Hamer’s arrest.
REMIF Counsel, Nancy Delaney of Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze, LLP, defended the City and its officers during the course of this action. The County of Humboldt settled its case with Andrew Hamer separate from the City of Eureka.
REMIF has settled with Andrew Hamer on behalf of the City of Eureka for $50,000. As noted in the settlement, the settlement is an “economic decision” based on the defense costs for a Federal Court trail. Furthermore, the settlement states “It is understood and agreed that this settlement is the compromise of a disputed claim, and that payment made is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of any party or parties hereby released, and the said Released Parities deny liability.” The Eureka Police Department and its officers have been dismissed from the action.
The City of Eureka is confident that its police officers acted within the law and policies of the department and the City and its officers would have prevailed if this case had moved forward in court. However, the City does understand the cost to its insurer and ultimately the tax payers of the City of Eureka and supports the decision made by REMIF.
If you are even further interested, you can watch Hamer’s case be heard in front of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals via YouTube below.