St. Louis, Missouri – Some of the people who were arrested during a 2017 protest over the acquittal of a white police officer in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith have started receiving their share of a $4.9 million settlement.
The first checks were distributed Friday to some of the 84 people covered by the settlement. Their lawsuit had claimed the protesters’ rights were violated when they were caught in a police “kettle” as officers surrounded and arrested everyone in the area. Three people who filed individual lawsuits also settled for $85,000 each.
The city denied wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which promises payouts between $28,000 and more than $150,000.
Another man who picked up his check Friday, Ali Bey, 36, said he plans to use the money to start his own construction company.
Both were among the crowd of people protesting after former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley who was acquitted in the December. 20, 2011, shooting death of Smith, who was Black.
Protesters said police surrounded more than 120 people who officers said did not follow dispersal orders according to ABC News.
Several people claimed police used excessive force and indiscriminate pepper spray, including against bystanders who were not protesting.