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Atlanta Settles Lawsuit with Photographer Arrested During BLM Protest

Atlanta, GA – The city of Atlanta has agreed to pay over $100,000 in a settlement to photographer Sharif Hassan, who was arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020.

The arrest was deemed a violation of his First Amendment rights.

According to Hassan’s attorneys, he clearly identified himself as a journalist and was filming the protest when he was taken into custody.

His lawyers argue that the arrest was a retaliatory action after he began documenting another individual’s arrest.

The First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia’s School of Law, along with two private attorneys, reached the settlement with the city of Atlanta.

The clinic’s director, Aurens, stated that the lawsuit aimed to bring attention to the need for change and greater respect for First Amendment rights.

Hassan was arrested on June 1st, 2020, for allegedly violating a curfew order imposed by the city.

However, his attorneys claim that he had already identified himself as a working journalist.

The charges were dropped six months later, leading Hassan’s attorneys to file a lawsuit.

The settlement serves as a reminder to city officials and law enforcement that First Amendment rights should not be suspended during curfew orders.

It is suggested that future curfew orders explicitly mention that journalists can continue their work.

Civil rights lawyer Gerry Weber emphasized the importance of a culture shift within the city and its police force to respect the rights of journalists and citizens to film in public places.

Weber noted that this is the sixth successful lawsuit he has brought against the city of Atlanta regarding citizens filming police conduct, and the city needs to learn from these cases.

The settlement comes at a time when protests against the Atlanta Police Training Facility are ongoing.

Lauren, one of Hassan’s attorneys, believes that this settlement is especially timely given the current climate and the need for improved policies and training requirements to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The settlement reflects a step toward holding authorities accountable for violations of constitutional rights and highlights the ongoing need to protect journalists’ freedom to document public events without facing undue interference.

Courtney: Thanks, Claire, for the update.
Russ: Baseball

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