Police Ordered to Pay Nation of Islam $130K for Blocking Louis Farrakhan Reparations Speech

England's High Court of Justice ordered the Metropolitan Police Service and the Lambeth London Borough Council to pay $130,000 in damages to Black activists from the Nation of Islam Monday, with the judge ruling that the agencies worked together to prevent Louis Farrakhan from giving a 2017 speech on slavery reparations.

The High Court's Justice Neil Stephen Garnham ruled Monday that Met Police and the Lambeth city breached the human rights of 34 Black representatives from the U.K. Nation of Islam ahead of an August 2017 event called the 4th Africa International Day of Action. Organizers had scheduled Farrakhan to deliver a remote speech about reparations to Kennington Park event attendees. His planned remarks cited hundreds of years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade as justification for seeking modern reparation benefits. Nation of Islam lawyers rejected police claims that Farrakhan's speech was blocked solely to avoid threats of "disorder."

Metropolitan Police, citing Farrakhan's long history of anti-Semitic remarks and "extreme views," were criticized by the High Court for having issued a narrowly tailored event permit that ultimately prevented Farrakhan from remotely calling in to give the speech at all.

The High Court on Monday agreed with the Nation of Islam plaintiffs who brought a complaint that accused police and the city council of proactively stifling the discussion on reparations, thus "unlawfully infringing" upon the claimants' rights under the Human Rights Act of 1998.

"My clients just wanted to talk about reparations for the historical and continuing effects of slavery," plaintiff attorney Andre Clovis told the court on behalf of the 34 Black activists from the Detroit-based Nation of Islam. "The Lambeth City Council and the Metropolitan Police, by eliminating Plaintiffs' ability to speak their minds, sought to suppress their ability to think about matters of central importance to their own being."

Garnham said authorities from both the local Lambeth city council and Metropolitan Police imposed an illegal ban on Farrakhan's scheduled broadcast about slavery reparations. They were ordered to collectively pay the $130,000 (£92,250) in damages in addition to $250,000 in legal fees.

Clovis said Lambeth City Council and police have spent nearly $2 million fighting this case since 2017, and have continually denied any and all wrongdoing.

"[This has] served to compound the insult my clients felt and it was a serious abuse of public funds [which were] deployed not for the benefit of their local community, but to hide wrongdoing and to protect their own reputations."

Newsweek on Tuesday morning reached out to the Nation of Islam headquarters in Detroit seeking any additional remarks from Farrakhan, who turns 88 years old today.

The Lambeth City Council and officials with the Metropolitan Police expressed regret over how the incident was perceived, with spokesperson James Berry issuing a written statement that "the Metropolitan Police Service has no desire to stifle speech on reparations."

Berry noted that it was Farrakhan's long history of expressing "extreme views" and potentially violence-inciting rhetoric which had law enforcement on edge prior to the 2017 event.

Martin Forde, legal counsel for the claimants, dismissed authority concerns over Farrakhan's inflammatory past remarks about Jews, Adolf Hitler and "anti-termites." Speaking to the court Monday, Forde said the Nation of Islam leader has been "misrepresented in a very sensationalized way in the media" for decades.

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan delivers a speech and talks about President Donald Trump, at the Watergate Hotel, on November 16, 2017 in Washington, D.C. England's High court ruled that the Metropolitan Police Service and the Lambeth London Borough Council worked together to prevent Louis Farrakhan from giving a 2017 speech on slavery reparations. Mark Wilson/Getty Images