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Reporter tear gassed at protest settles with Eugene for $45K

October 30, 2020 GMT

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A Eugene Weekly reporter who was hit with a tear gas canister while he filmed police breaking up a protest in late May has settled a lawsuit against the city of Eugene.

Henry Houston said he and the Civil Liberties Defense Center, which filed the lawsuit on his behalf in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, this week settled with the city for $45,000, The Register-Guard reported.

Houston said he’d asked the city to change its policing policies as terms for a settlement, but said the city wouldn’t consider that path.

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Eugene Community Relations Director Laura Hammond said the city is “pleased to have quickly reached a mutually agreeable resolution to this matter.”

The Civil Liberties Defense Center filed the civil rights lawsuit in July, claiming city and police officers violated his rights when they hit him with a tear gas canister and the rights of the protestors who police that night shot with pepper rounds and tear gas.

“I did it because I felt it was an opportunity to push through change in how police engage with journalists at protests, as well as engage with just everyday protesters,” Houston told the newspaper about the lawsuit. He said it was disappointing that the city didn’t consider any policy changes.

The May 31 protest in downtown Eugene came in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis resident.

Houston hopes the payout — some of which he said will pay medical bills and some will be donated to a mental health program known as Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets or CAHOOTS — will at least discourage police from similar future behavior.