Activists Receive $15,368 Compensation

17/8/10

Unified Police Department settles suit by animal-rights activists for $15,368

The Unified Police Department has agreed to pay more than $15,000 to settle a federal lawsuit by animal-rights advocates who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were forced to end a demonstration in May.

Fourteen members of Salt Lake Animal Advocacy Movement (SLAAM) decided on May 8 to hold a spontaneous demonstration that day near 700 West and 8600 South, adjacent to a facility operated by the Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative, according to the suit. It says the protesters wanted to inform the public about their opposition to fur farming.

The suit alleges that two Unified Police Department officers broke up the protest - which was held in unincorporated Salt Lake County - by threatening to arrest or cite the protesters because they did not have a permit to hold a demonstration. The SLAAM members say the law does not require gatherings of fewer than 50 people to get a permit but they left because of the threat.

The settlement agreement, for a total of $15,368, was reached Friday. Each of the 14 protesters and the organization itself will receive $200, while the rest covers attorney fees and court costs.

The department and the two officers did not admit any wrongdoing and say they entered into the agreement to avoid costly litigation.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50119144-76/department-rights-animal-demonstration.html.csp

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