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4 protesters to receive $10K each in settlement with Jacksonville sheriff

Settlement also places limits on JSO's future tactics against protesters

Pastor Delaine Smith was arrested and accused of unlawful assembly during a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville on Sunday.
Pastor Delaine Smith was arrested and accused of unlawful assembly during a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville on Sunday. (Screenshots via Facebook)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Delaine Smith, a pastor who was arrested while recording video in May during a peaceful Jacksonville protest following the death of George Floyd, is one of four protesters who reached a settlement agreement on Friday with Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams and four police officers.

Smith — along with Briauna Bosworth, Sharrona Brightman and Elizabeth Mulroney — sued JSO claiming their arrests were unlawful.

MORE: Jacksonville pastor, others arrested at protest sue sheriff, officers

The Jacksonville Sheriff Office will now have to pay $100,000 to settle the lawsuit, which includes $60,000 for attorney’s fees and $10,000 for each protester.

The four were among the 48 who were taken into custody during protests who later had their charges dropped by the State Attorney’s Office.

As part of the settlement, JSO also agreed to make three changes to how it handles protesters.

Among the agreements:

  • Sheriff’s Office agrees officers can not order protesters to disperse unless there’s a threat to public safety.
  • Officers can’t arrest protesters for failure to comply without first specifying what area they have to disperse from.
  • Officers can’t use chemical agents or irritants unless alternative crowd control methods are ineffective.

As part of the settlement, the Sheriff’s Office didn’t admit to breaking the law or say they did anything wrong.

Ben Frazier of The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville said the officers involved clearly violated the protesters’ Constitutional rights.

“What happened during that protest was another example of JSO’s excessive use of force which we have complained about for years,” Frazier said. “The procedures utilized by the police were militaristic, over the top and off the chain.”