City of Columbus settles lawsuit over policy in domestic violence cases

ATLANTA — A judge has approved a class action settlement of a federal lawsuit against a Georgia city that was collecting a fee from people who declined to participate in domestic violence prosecutions.

The lawsuit filed in October 2016 said that when Cleopatra Harrison called 911 to report abuse, Columbus police officers took her statement, observed her injuries, arrested her boyfriend and told her to appear in court.

The lawsuit said that when Harrison told the local judge she didn’t want to press charges, he told her she owed the city of Columbus $150.

The Southern Center for Human Rights said the settlement approved Wednesday says the court will stop charging victim fees on behalf of the city, and anyone who paid those fees will receive reimbursement and compensation.