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Deadline is Thursday to join class-action settlement for Edmundson arrests or fines

The Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in St. Louis
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The deadline to sign up for a piece of a settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit against municipal court practices in Edmundson is Thursday. The case was filed at the federal courthouse in St. Louis shown here.

Individuals who were defendants in Edmundson municipal court over an eight-year period have until Thursday to sign up for compensation from a class-action lawsuit.

People who were fined, faced arrest or spent time in jail between Dec. 12, 2013, and July 1, 2021, just because they could not pay traffic tickets are eligible. The amount of money received depends on a variety of factors.

ArchCity Defenders reacheda preliminary settlement worth $370,000 with the city, which is located near St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, in June. That started the clock for the legal advocacy organization to sign up as many people as possible.

ArchCity attorney Maureen Hanlon said even those who were affected long ago should sign up by the Thursday deadline.

“This is money that is free to you, and is a symbolic reminder of the fact that you suffered from a practice that impacted your life negatively that was improperly done,” she said.

Those who think they might be eligible can go to ArchCity’s website. People with further questions can call the agency at 314-361-8834.

Tekeia Henderson was arrested in 2014 during protests over the death of Michael Brown and spent 14 days in jail on old parking tickets from Edmundson. He signed up for the settlement as soon as he was eligible.

Although he and others will have to wait until next year to receive the money, Henderson said it’s worth it so the city can finally be held accountable.

“They are not a big municipality, and they plot on people that come in that area of the airport, and sit there and wait,” he said. “You don't have to do nothing. All you have to do sometimes is just be Black.”

Henderson said he will use his check to buy and register a car.

ArchCity sued a number of municipalities after Brown’s death. A settlement with Normandy is awaiting final approval. Four other cases, against St. Ann, Ferguson, Maplewood and Florissant, are still in court.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.