The law enforcement agencies that raided the Long Haul in 2008 have come to a settlement agreement in the lawsuit filed against them by the anarchist library and community center, as well as the prisoner support group East Bay Prisoner Support (EBPS). According to the settlement, the agencies have agreed to delete the computer data seized in the raid and pay $100,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, according to a press release today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In addition, the UC Berkeley Police Department acknowledged that the Long Haul, located at 3124 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, qualified for federal protections from police searches, even though it had denied this during the lawsuit.
The 2008 armed raid by the UCBPD and the FBI was part of an investigation into a series of threatening e-mails sent to animal researchers at UC Berkeley. (In recent years the FBI has ramped up its focus on animal activists, especially members of the Animal Liberation Front, calling them domestic terrorists and putting them on its most-wanted list.) According to the settlement, the emails had been traced to an IP address assigned to the Long Haul. Agents cut or unscrewed locks to offices and removed all computers from the building, including those of the Slingshot collective, which publishes a radical quarterly newspaper, and the East Bay Prisoner Support (EBPS), which publishes material about inmates. The settlement acknowledged that the Long Haul was a publisher that should have been protected from search and seizure under the Privacy Protection Act. It also cleared the Long Haul and EBPS from any involvement with the emailed threats and any criminal activity. UCBPD also agreed to expand its training and understanding of the Privacy Protection Act.
From the press release:
"We hope that in view of this lawsuit and this favorable settlement, law enforcement will think twice before they raid other radical spaces on flimsy pretenses," said Jesse Palmer, a long-time participant in Long Haul operations. "The raid was an abuse of power. The police refused to show Long Haul representatives a copy of the search warrant, prevented anyone from watching what they were taking during the raid, and preferred to cut locks rather than accept our offer to unlock doors. The raid was a fishing expedition and an attempt to intimidate and harass radicals undertaken by the FBI and UCPD, but as the settlement demonstrates, it was the police who broke the law. We've done nothing wrong."
The complete settlement agreement can be read here.