The University of California, Berkeley has settled a lawsuit with a photojournalist, paying him $162,500 after he claimed that campus police unlawfully arrested him and confiscated his camera during a student protest in 2009.
Though university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said that police acted appropriately, the settlement states that UC Berkeley police will be trained to handle journalists differently in the future. Attorneys for the photojournalist, David Morse, 43, disclosed the settlement on Monday.
Morse is an independent photojournalist who volunteers for the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center.
In 2009, he was photographing a protest outside of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s office where students were rioting against budget cuts and increases in tuition. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the crowd grew incensed, throwing lit torches and flower pots through the windows at the chancellor’s house.
Campus police reportedly saw Morse taking a picture and demanded his camera. Morse was then arrested on six counts, including suspicion of rioting, attempted burglary, vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
Morse spent the night at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, and was released on $132,000 bail the next day.
Though police originally obtained a search warrant to use the confiscated photos, Alamenda County Superior Judge invalidated the warrant in 2010.
"From now on, it's going to be clear to all of them that they can no longer engage in this type of activity where they target a journalist or anyone else who is taking pictures," said Morse’s attorney Terry Gross.
2005 - UCLA campus police tase student in a library -- protests and demonstrations follow
Students and others march across campus to protest outside the University of California, Los Angeles police department after a rally on the Westwood campus Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 to protest police use of a taser on UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad in a campus library Tuesday, Nov. 14.
2007 - UC Berkeley students occupy trees
Authorities negotiate with two tree-sitters at a tree on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008. UC Berkeley officials are preparing to remove the last remaining tree-sitters protesting a planned sports center next to Memorial Stadium, where the football team plays. The university has refused to meet the protesters' demand that it donate $6 million to environmental and Native American groups as part of an agreement for the tree-sitters to come down voluntarily.
2009 - UCLA cops taser student protesters, protesting tuition hikes.
A student protester is tazered by a police officer during a protest against an increase in student fees at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2009. The University of California Board of Regents approved a 32 percent tuition increase during a meeting which at the campus today.
2009 - November incident at Wheeler hall, students clash with police outside of Wheeler while students barricaded themselves in the building.
Demonstrators protest in front of a closed off University of California, Berkeley building on the Berkeley, Calif., campus, Friday,. Nov. 20, 2009, during a demonstration against university fee hikes and layoffs.
2009-2010 - student protesters start using "Occupy Everything" tag
Students occupy the hallway outside the office of the university chancellor at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to protest education funding cuts and rising tuition on March 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of students and educators from elementary, middle and high schools, and colleges and universities are holding marches, rallies and class walkouts across California today as part of a nationwide effort calling for no more cuts to education. University of California system student fees have increased 61 percent over the past five years and costs have gone up for students of California community colleges which, until the property tax rollback of 1978, provided tuition-free to all high school graduates.
March 2010 - at least one student tased when students "occupy" a portion of interstate 80/880
Oakland police officers take down a splinter group of protestors who attempted to block Interstate 880 following a rally for the national day of action against school funding cuts and tuition increases March 4, 2010 in Oakland, Calif. Dozens of protestors were arrested after they stormed the 880 freeway as students across the country were walking out of classes and holding demonstrations against massive tuition increases and funding cuts to college universities.
2011 - students beat with batons at UC Berkeley
2011 - UC Davis students pepper sprayed
In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. The video - posted on YouTube - was shot Friday as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected on campus and arrested 10 people, nine of them students.