La Mesa activist Ray Lutz will receive $60,000 to settle his lawsuit against the City of San Diego over his arrest two years ago in connection with Occupy San Diego. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the payment in the case.
Lutz was registering voters during the Nov. 29, 2011, protest at Civic Center Plaza when he was placed under citizens arrest by a security guard. He had refused to remove his registration table from the civic concourse area, citing a municipal code that exempts peaceful political activity on private property designated for public use, according to a UT San Diego news report.
The lawsuit contended Lutz was at a “small, unobtrusive table in Civic Center Plaza for registering voters,” when he was arrested by private security “that was then accepted” by police Officer Tony Lessa.
“Certainly, registering voters must be considered peaceful political activity that is a sacred right in our democracy,” Lutz said.According to the UT report, Lutz sued for battery, false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Lutz also seeks to put a point on the arrests of others engaged in peaceful political activity at the civic concourse.
"This is an opportunity for people to voice their support for the settlement and to come in and talk about the egregious arrests that have occurred in San Diego in and around Civic Center Plaza and other places where people were trying to do peaceful political activity and they were arrested for it," he said in a KPBS news report.
In addition to the financial award, Lutz's arrest record will be expunged. According to the KPBS report, he also reached a settlement with the security firm that arrested him and CBRE Group, the building management company that oversees Civic Center Plaza.
The terms of that settlement have yet to be released, but a letter from CBRE Group to building clients instructing them to allow peaceful political activity is said to be part of the deal.