Occupy Wall Street won a major legal battle earlier today when it agreed to a settlement from the city of New York that will pay the activist group over $230,000 in damages and legal fees. The settlement includes $47,000 in damages for Occupy Wall Street's 5,500 book library, most of which was destroyed or damaged during a November 15, 2011 raid on Zuccotti Park. The city also agreed to pay $186,350 in legal costs to Occupy Wall Street's lawyers.
"Our clients are pleased," Normal Siegel, one of Occupy Wall Street's attorneys, told the Village Voice. "We had asked for damages of $47,000 for the books and the computers, and we got $47,000. More important — we would not have settled without this — is the language in the settlement. This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books."
Here's the language Siegel referred to from the city's settlement:
"Defendants acknowledge and believe it is unfortunate that, during the course of clearing Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011, books were damaged so as to render them unusable, and additional books are unaccounted for. Defendants further acknowledge and believe it unfortunate that certain library furnishings and equipment likewise were damaged so as to render them unusable, and other library furnishings and equipment may be unaccounted for. Plaintiffs and Defendants recognize that when a person's property is removed from the city it is important that the City exercise due care and adhere to established procedures in order to protect legal rights of the property owners."
The city also settled with two other groups who sued for damages related to the same raid. Global Revolutions TV, a media group which broadcast from the park, received $75,0000 for damaged equipment and $49,850 in lawyer's fees. Times Up New York received $7,500 for property destroyed in the raid.