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Tacoma, Washington

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Ryan Nute
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Verdict Reached in WTO Trial

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A federal jury found that the City of Seattle was liable for the improper search and seizure of 147 people who were arrested during the tumult surrounding the 1999 WTO meeting and protests. The jury found that the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights had not been violated.

The case now moves to the issue of the plaintiffs’ damages, which may be postponed pending an appeal by the city.

A federal judge had already ruled that the City had violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, for the city to be civilly liable to the plaintiffs they were required to prove that the city had a policy to specifically arrest WTO protesters because of their views or that city officials approved the illegal arrests.

Reportedly the city of Seattle has paid $800,000 to settle more than a dozen lawsuits and claims arising out of the WTO incidents and this case could cause it to pay several million more.

Read more: Colin McDonald; Seattle P-I