A group of about 70 protesters who were arrested after the 2005 inauguration of President George W. Bush will receive at least $2,000 each, according to a settlement approved in a Washington federal court.
Police had arrested the demonstrators, claiming the group was vandalizing a Washington D.C. neighborhood.
"It's not a reflection on all demonstrators," Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the following day. "But a hard-core group came to town and caused damage to property... You can't let them destroy the city. Nobody has a right to do that."
"They are just thugs and hoodlums who did that," he added.
Many of those arrested said that they were just bystanders who didn't deserve to be prosecuted. Others claimed that the police shot pepper spray directly in their eyes even after being restrained.
In 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huevelle ruled that all of the arrests were unconstitutional because police could not determine which of the people had actually broken the law.
A three-judge panel overturned that ruling, saying that the arrests were only proper if the crowd was "acting as a unit."