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NYC to pay $330,000 to settle pepper-spray Occupy lawsuits

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New York City has agreed to pay more than $330,000 to six Occupy Wall Street protesters who claimed a police officer doused them with pepper spray without cause, an incident that helped galvanize the movement during its early days.

Lawyer Mark Taylor, who represented three of the protesters, said on Monday that the settlements for each of the six individuals ranged from $52,500 to $60,000.

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“We think it’s good compensation for the injuries that occurred to our clients,” Taylor said. “They are settlements that we think reflects the city’s realization that they were very much liable.”

The deals, which resolve several civil lawsuits filed in Manhattan federal court, come nearly four years after Occupy protests swept the country, as activists called for greater income equality.

Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said, “It was in the city’s best interest to settle these cases.” The city did not admit wrongdoing as part of the agreements.

The incident, captured on video, occurred on Sept. 24, 2011, just a few days after Occupy protesters set up camp in a park in New York’s financial district.

The video showed Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna using pepper spray on several protesters during a march in downtown Manhattan.

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The clip went viral, helping to draw attention to the nascent Occupy movement.

The New York City Police Department docked Bologna 10 vacation days for violating departmental policy.

“It’s a reasonable settlement for the pepper spray felt ’round the world,” said lawyer Ron Kuby, who represented one of the protesters.

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A lawyer for Bologna was unavailable for comment on Monday afternoon.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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