This is great closure.

In August 2008 I reported that Maryland State Police had illegally arrested 18 pro-lifers, including two minors, who were participating in a constitutionally protected picket.

Well, the subsequent lawsuit has been settled, and hooray for our side. From the Baltimore Sun, March 6 (albeit getting the number of pro-lifers wrong):

The Maryland State Police have agreed to pay a $385,000 settlement to 17 anti-abortion protesters arrested by Maryland State Troopers four years ago in Harford County.

The protesters, two of whom were 14 at the time, were arrested and processed and spent a night in the Harford County Detention Center….

The protesters, who were holding up graphic images to passing motorists, claimed they were mistreated by the police and filed suit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore against Harford County, the town of Bel Air and seven local and state police agencies.

The suit claimed that at least 12 police officers handcuffed 18 demonstrators and would not tell them a reason for their arrests. Three young women were twice subjected to strip searches, the suit alleged, once at the Bel Air police station and again at the Harford County Detention Center. The women, who were not released until the next day, were denied permission to call relatives or contact attorneys, the suit said.

Police said motorists complained about the graphic nature of the protesters’ posters. Officers ordered the demonstrators to leave the county and arrested them when they failed to obey, police said.

The state dropped charges, which included loitering, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order, soon after the arrests.

A federal judge ruled last year that police violated the demonstrators’ constitutional right to free speech. The judge also upheld the group’s claim that the arrests violated due process.

[Photos via Maryland Pro-Life News and Commentary]

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