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Bicyclist, Minneapolis to settle on $70K

The Star Tribune: Bicyclist, Minneapolis to settle on $70K

A proposed settlement with Minneapolis will help pay a bicyclist’s legal bills after his arrest at a Critical Mass ride.

By STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune
Last update: January 11, 2010 - 8:56 PM

The city of Minneapolis is poised to pay $70,800 to a bicyclist who said he sustained minor injuries and had his rights violated when he was arrested in an altercation during a Critical Mass ride in 2007.

Part of the award will cover $35,000 in legal fees that Gus Ganley ran up to win an acquittal on all three charges brought against him after his arrest during the event, in which hundreds of bikers filled Minneapolis streets.

Ganley also incurred undisclosed legal costs in a civil lawsuit against the city and six members of the Police Department. In the suit, he alleged violation of his federal civil rights and wrongful actions by the city in his arrest.

The proposed settlement has been recommended by a City Council committee for approval by the full council on Friday.

"It’s pretty good to hold the police accountable for their actions, which is pretty much what this whole process has been," the 22-year-old Ganley said Monday.

Only one to fight charges

The freelance videographer, who participates in Critical Mass rides occasionally, said he believes police were trying to target some activists in the crowd who were organizing protests for the Republican National Convention a year later.

Critical Mass events are periodic rush-hour rides that can attract hundreds of cyclists who sometimes block traffic. The August 2007 ride resulted in confrontations between some riders and police, resulting in 19 arrests. But only four, including Ganley, were charged.

Two pleaded guilty to reduced charges, and charges were dropped against a juvenile, according to Ganley’s attorney, Jordan Kushner.

Only Ganley fought his charges. In a weeklong trial, he was acquitted of assaulting a police officer, obstruction of the legal process with force and fleeing a police officer.