- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Settlement reached in mass arrest

Attorneys for a group of 400 people swept up in a mass arrest of protesters in 2002 said the District agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action lawsuit for about $8.25 million.

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According to the settlement, nearly 400 people arrested in 2002 at Pershing Park near the White House will receive about $18,000 each.

Police encircled the park during a protest of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, lawyers representing the group said. Officers then arrested demonstrators, tourists and others without warning. The plaintiffs claimed that some were bound for 24 hours.

An additional $13 million settlement was reached last month for arrests in 2000.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said the police department has changed its procedures significantly since 2002. Still, he said, the D.C. government acknowledges no wrongdoing in the settlement.

“The important thing is to get this case behind the District,” Mr. Nickles said.

The settlement will be paid out over two years, easing the burden on city coffers, he said. Any money not claimed by individual members of the legal class would revert to the city.

Streetcars arrive from Czech Republic

Three streetcars for Washington, a city that has not had that mode of transportation since 1962, have arrived in the area.

Transportation officials say the three streetcars arrived over the weekend at the Port of Baltimore from the Czech Republic. They still must clear customs, then they will be sent for inspection at the Greenbelt Rail Yard.

They cost about $10 million.

Two streetcar lines are under construction. Anacostia and the Benning Road/H Street Corridor will be the first two sections to see the new transportation network.

Those lines are scheduled to open about 2012.



6 schools named for excellence

The Maryland Department of Education has named six public schools 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.

The schools are selected based on state and national requirements for achievement and improvement.

Each school will get more than $6,000 in tech equipment and $1,000 each from corporate sponsors.

The schools are Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore County; Ellicott Mills Middle in Howard County; New Market Elementary in Frederick County; Northern Middle in Calvert County; Northwestern Elementary in Wicomico County; and Snow Hill Middle School in Worcester County.


Ex-MTA worker pleads guilty to fare theft

A former Maryland Transit Administration worker pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing $400,000 from bus fare boxes.

David Pattawi, 36, of White Marsh, will be sentenced on Feb 22.

According to his plea agreement, Pattawi used an electronic key to open fare boxes and steal the cash. Prosecutors said he used the stolen money to finance a second home and buy a Lincoln Navigator.


Commissioner frustrated by police shootings

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld is frustrated after the second police-involved shooting in the city in two days.

Commissioner Bealefeld said Tuesday that something needs to be done to put “maniacs” with handguns in jail and keep them there.

The commissioner has focused his enforcement strategy on “bad guys with guns,” but he said that many gun offenders end up doing little or no jail time.

On Tuesday afternoon, police said, Baltimore County officers fatally shot a career criminal they had under surveillance. The man was in the city to meet with a probation officer. When the officers approached him outside the office, he pulled out a .50-caliber handgun and started shooting. Officers returned fire and killed the man.

A .50-caliber handgun is among the most powerful on the market and is often used for hunting.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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