The city of Cincinnati and Occupy protesters have reached a legal settlement that will erase criminal charges against protesters and designate part of Piatt Park a 24-hour public space for one year. The open space will still be subject to park rules, which include the “prohibition or restriction on noise, encampments, open flames, tents, and common law nuisance principles.”
The Enquirer reported
today that the settlement was expected to be filed in court this morning. The settlement will end protesters’ federal lawsuit
against the city, which was based on the First Amendment right to
peaceably assemble. The far eastern section of the park, which is
where Occupy Cincinnati set up its encampment starting in October and
where many of the arrests occurred, will reportedly be designated a
12-hour public space for one year beginning 10 p.m.
Should the city refuse to extend the Open Period, Occupy protesters are allowed to institute a new lawsuit challenging the park rules.
The city has agreed to install new signage at the park noting its modified closing time and will install signage or placards at least 14 days prior to the open time’s scheduled expiration at 11:59 p.m. March 18, 2013.
The city retains the right to terminate the Open Period should park rules not be followed. According to the lawsuit:
Consistent and persistent violations of Park Board Rules and/or generally applicable laws which constitute a public nuisance under Chapter 3767 of the Ohio Revised Code, including without limitation any conduct in violation of prohibitions or restrictions on noise, encampments, open flames, or tents, shall constitute a breach of this Agreement. As a remedy for such breach, the City may terminate the Open Period prior to the expiration date set forth in Section 3 above by obtaining an order from a court of competent jurisdiction enjoining any such nuisance and finding that termination of the Open Period is necessary to abate any such nuisance.
City Hall will appoint an individual to function as the liaison of the Park Board and schedule a public meeting within 60 days and another within 180 days to accept public input.