Seattle ordered to pay $82K to Black Lives Matter lawyers

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Lit windows at the Seattle Hyatt Regency Hotel display a heart and “BLM” for Black Lives Matter, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in downtown Seattle. Road blocks and other protests have taken place nightly in Seattle as people demand police reforms and protest the deaths of George Floyd and others due to police violence. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — The city of Seattle has been ordered to pay nearly $82,000 to attorneys for Black Lives Matter to cover their fees and costs in pursuing contempt-of-court violations against the Seattle Police Department.

The contempt violations were for the improper use of pepper spray and blast balls by police against peaceful protesters after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, The Seattle Times reported.

The amount by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones ordered was much less than the nearly $264,000 in fees and costs sought by lawyers for BLM-Seattle and King County after Jones found police had violated his injunction prohibiting unnecessary force.

Jones did not place “coercive sanctions” against the city, sought by BLM, which would have required Seattle officers to provide BLM with use-of-force reports within days of every incident in which an officer uses force against a protester. The judge found those kinds of sanctions were not appropriate in this case.

The judge also rejected the city’s efforts to have him reconsider his contempt finding.

“We are pleased that the Court rejected the City’s misguided attempt to reverse the Court’s contempt finding and that the Court issued sanctions against the City,” said David Perez, one of the lawyers representing Black Lives Matter. “Our goal is to ensure greater safety for protesters through compliance with the Court’s orders, and this decision will help in that regard.”

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