DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has approved a lawsuit settlement compensating five supporters of Black Lives Matter whom the Iowa State Patrol arrested and banned from the grounds of the state Capitol following a scuffle during a protest last summer.
A state board on Aug. 2 approved a recommendation by state lawyers to pay Jalesha Johnson, Louise Bequeaith, Haley Jo Dikkers, Brad Penna and Brandi Ramus $5,000 each and their attorney $45,000.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger issued an order in December that prevented enforcement of the ban, concluding it likely violated the protesters’ rights. On Tuesday, she entered an order accepting the settlement agreement, calling it “fair, reasonable, and adequate under the circumstances of this lawsuit and is approved.”
The five were arrested July 1, 2020, when a scuffle broke out with police officers at the Capitol. After the arrests, the Iowa State Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol, told the five protesters that legislative leaders ordered them banned from the grounds and would charge them with trespassing if they returned.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed a lawsuit, saying the ban blocks the individuals’ fundamental constitutional rights of free speech, assembly, right to petition their government, their fundamental freedom of movement and due process.
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