Photographer Gets $105K Payout After Arrest at BLM Protests
A photographer will get a $105,000 payout from the City of Atlanta after being arrested during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest in 2020.
Photojournalist Sharif Hassan was photographing the BLM protests in downtown Atlanta on the night of June 1, 2020 — a few days after the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.
Hassan’s attorneys say he photographed Atlanta Police Department (APD) officers arresting an individual at the protests.
His attorneys say that after officers spotted him taking photographs, Hassan was immediately forced to the ground and handcuffed.
Despite repeatedly identifying himself as a photojournalist covering the protests to several APD officers, Hassan was taken into custody and put in jail overnight.
Hassan also claimed that APD officers seized his camera’s memory cards and never returned them.
The APD officers allegedly used the city’s curfew which was at 21:00 as an excuse for the photographer’s arrest.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Hassan allegedly faced criminal and curfew violation charges for over six months until the city dismissed all charges against him for “evidentiary reasons.”
The photographer sued the city of Atlanta on First Amendment grounds. This week, it was announced that the city of Atlanta would pay Hassan $105,000 to settle his lawsuit.
The City of Atlanta and police officers involved in the arrest reportedly made no admission of wrongdoing by settling with Hassan.
“I brought this lawsuit to hold the City accountable for hastily creating a police state while leaving our rights as journalists as an afterthought,” Hassan says in a statement released to the media.
“Unlawful arrest while being separated and handcuffed through the night is something that should not happen to members of the press. The goal is to ensure that our rights are protected in the future.”
Hassan’s case is one of several instances where photographers were injured or mistreated during the BLM protests in 2020.
Photojournalist Linda Tirado was blinded by a foam bullet fired by police while covering the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis.
Footage also emerged of a Denver police officer shoving a photographer into a fire as the George Floyd protests raged.
Meanwhile, in October, photographer Trevor Hughes received a $350,000 payout from Denver Police after he nearly lost his finger while covering the protests in 2020.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.