The two freelance journalists alleged they were illegally arrested. As part of the $175,000 settlement, the city did not admit wrongdoing.
By Keith L. Alexander, April 26, 2023
The D.C. government agreed to pay $175,000 to two journalists to settle a lawsuit that alleged police unlawfully detained the pair while they were covering demonstrations and vandalism in downtown Washington during Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in January 2017.
A spokesman for the journalists announced Tuesday that the California-based writer Aaron Cantú and the Colorado-based photojournalist Alexei Wood would split the settlement, minus attorney fees. Both were arrested and charged with rioting and other counts; Wood was acquitted at trial, and prosecutors later dropped the charges against Cantú.
In all, 234 people were arrested during the unrest on the Inauguration Day in downtown D.C. Authorities alleged that demonstrators caused about $100,000 of property damage across many blocks downtown, shattering windows on businesses and vehicles. Police, in turn, rounded up people en masse and fired pepper spray and other less-lethal munitions.